Strokes are one of the most important occurrences people should be aware of. The CDC estimates that more than 795,000 Americans have a stroke every year—and that roughly 140,000 stroke victims die. Virtually all of us know someone who will have a stroke, so knowing how to prevent and care for a stroke can be life-saving.
“About one in 20 deaths in the United States is due to a stroke, but not everyone knows what to look for or how to recognize one when it occurs,” said Mira Pallotta, Executive Director of Brandermill Woods. “May is National Stroke Awareness Month, so we encourage everyone to review the signs of a stroke. It may just help you save a life.”
How to Recognize a Stroke—and What to Do
Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is cut off—either because of a blocked artery (an ischemic stroke) or a leaking or bursting blood vessel (a hemorrhagic stroke). When a stroke occurs, the oxygen-starved brain cells begin to die, affecting speech, movement, memory and more.
Strokes usually occur suddenly. If you experience the symptoms below, seek help. Call 911 if you are able, or try to alert someone nearby. Signs and symptoms include:
The acronym FAST can help you recognize and respond to strokes in others. To respond quickly and possibly save a life, remember F-A-S-T:
How to Prevent Strokes
While there is no surefire way to prevent a stroke, there are a number of risk factors related to lifestyle and heart health that can help decrease your risk for a stroke. These risk factors are particularly important as we age—which is why we at Brandermill Woods work hard to offer our residents plenty of opportunities for an active, heart-healthy lifestyle.
Four general steps you can take to lower your risk of stroke include:
Exercise and healthy eating will help you lower your cholesterol, help prevent or control diabetes, and limit the buildup of fat in your arteries. These steps will go a long way toward preventing a stroke—and allow you to enjoy a fruitful life and a restful retirement.