Stay Stroke Free: National Stroke Awareness Month

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.

Each year in the United States, there are more than 800,000 strokes. Stroke is a leading cause of death in the country and causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65 and the risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.

To understand stroke, it helps to understand the brain. The brain controls our movements, stores our memories, and is the source of our thoughts, emotions, and language. The brain also controls many functions of the body, like breathing and digestion. To work properly, your brain needs oxygen. Although your brain makes up only 2% of your body weight, it uses 20% of the oxygen you breathe. Your arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood to all parts of your brain.

Risk factors for a stroke include high blood pressure, tobacco use, diabetes, high cholesterol, physical inactivity and obesity, carotid or other artery disease, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), atrial fibrillation (AFib) or other heart disease, certain blood disorders, excessive alcohol intake, increasing age, hereditary and race, gender, and prior stroke. You can't control some risk factors, but knowing they exist may help motivate you to work harder on the ones you can change.

Lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise are part of controllable risk factors for preventing a stroke. A balanced diet can help maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall health. A recent study showed that people who exercise five or more times per week have a reduced stroke risk. Also, smoking doubles the risk of stroke when compared to a nonsmoker and alcohol increases blood pressure which can lead to a stroke.

The Good News…

Stroke is preventable. Up to 80% of strokes could be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and working with your health care team to control health conditions that raise your risk for stroke. Life line screenings are available and can actually see inside your arteries for plaque buildup. One of the most important things to remember is to act quickly.

F- Face drooping

A- Arm stiffness

S- Speech difficulty

T- Time to call 9-1-1

At Home Healthcare has been providing adult and pediatric in home care services throughout Texas since 1986. Our comprehensive care focuses on the unique needs of adults and aging seniors, including those who have suffered stroke. From customized nursing services to therapy and rehabilitation, our professionals have the experience and resources to promote faster recoveries, independent living, and healthier lives. Call (877) 959-9093 to learn more about our services.

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