National Stroke Awareness Month: Do You Know How to Protect Yourself From Stroke?

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Did you know that someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds? In the U.S. alone, more than 800,000 people die from a stroke or cardiovascular disease each year – that’s one person every four minutes. And for those who survive, the after-effects of a stroke can cause long-term disabilities.

But the news isn’t all bad: Knowing the early signs and symptoms of stroke and making preventative, heart-healthy lifestyle changes reduce the risks.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. This spring, make a goal to educate and enlighten yourself about how to best prevent stroke.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., but it’s the leading cause of severe, long-term disabilities – like paralysis and speech problems — that negatively impact quality of life. Fortunately, following a heart-healthy lifestyle can make a big difference to your stroke and heart disease risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, top risk factors include:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Smoking
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes

Of these, high blood pressure is a major predictor of stroke. Often called the “silent killer” because it doesn’t have any visible symptoms, high blood pressure is easily controlled with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Start by visiting a healthcare professional to determine your blood pressure.

Other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, inactivity and obesity, also increase risk of stroke. These behaviors result in the narrowing of blood vessels, hardening of arteries and reduced blood flow to the brain. madelinemullinst5fg33.blogspot.com When a clot blocks blood flow or a blood vessel bursts, stroke can occur.

Knowing stroke’s early signs and symptoms is important, too, as quicker treatment tends to have much better results. Early signs include sudden:

  • Weakness or numbness on the face, arms or legs, especially on a single side
  • Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Trouble seeing from one or both eyes
  • Difficulty walking, or dizziness, loss of balance and coordination
  • Severe headache with no obvious cause
To start your journey toward heart-health and stroke risk reduction, visit My Life Check, a free tool from the American Heart Association that helps you determine where you stand on the road toward good health.

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