Stroke InformationPosted: September 13, 2019, 1:14PM
Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. They occur when a blood vessel that carreis O2 and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures, both leading to reduction in O2 to the brain and ultimately brain cell death. Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death and leading cause of long-term disability in the US.
Strokes can be life-changing. My mom suffered a stroke when she was 72.
Mom "threw" a blood clot which went to her brain, and in a matter of minutes her life changed forever. Her left side was affected. Mom's mobility was severely impaired, and she lost the fine motor skills of her left arm / hand. She was not affected cognitively. Mom was retired but had been active. She drove. She had no symptoms. And - my mom smoked. Her stroke and its long-term effects impacted our whole family.
There are risk factors and preventive measures that can be taken:
Hypertension: Leading cause of stroke and most significantly controllable risk factor. Monitor your blood pressure and take measures to control it. Know your numbers! Discuss this with your primary care doctor.
Smoking: QUIT! Talk to your doctor. There are smoking cessation programs and there are aids to help. E-cigarettes are not "better"! Just QUIT!!!!
Diabetes: Correlates wtih elevated BP, lipids and body weight. Discuss this with your primary care doctor. Know your numbers!
Physical Activity: about 30 minutes per day. Helps with weight, Hypertension, glucose control and mental health.
Obesity: Losing 5 - 10 pounds could help significantly.
Carotid Artery disease: Blood to brain is inhibited which increases stroke risk. Discuss with your doctor.
Atrial fibulation or a-fib: Montor with your physician to help control and reduce risk.
There are other factors that affect stroke risk: age (risk increases with every 10 years after 55), genetics (parent, grandparent, sibling have history of TIA or stroke?), race (African Americans), gender (female), contraceptive use, prior TIA / stroke (10x > risk for prior), geographic location (southern), socioeconomic status, alcohol and drug use, and sleep patterns. Discuss concerns with your physician.
Remember the FAST 'test':
F - face drooping or numb? Is the smile uneven or lopsided?
A - arm weakness or numbness? Does one arm droop downward?
S - speech difficulty (slurred? able to speak and understand? Repeat "The sky is blue"
T - Time to call 9-1-1 Immediately!
[Source: American Heart Association]
SURVIVORS OF STROKE SUPPORT GROUP will meet at Wheeling Hospital's conference room C from 6pm - 7:30pm on September 19. Lucas Burkhardt, coordinator of the hospital's Stroke Center, leads the group. To register, call 304 243-8398.