It’s almost a guarantee that at some point we will know SOMEONE who suffers a stroke.

Stroke is the number one cause of long-term disability in America and the number four cause of death.

This is a “Time is of the essence” condition and recognizing the signs and symptoms is important for the early detection and treatment of a stroke victim.  Knowing these facts could save the life of a friend of loved one and reduce the long-term effects of a stroke.

1)      Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg. Particularly on one side of the body.

2)      Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.

3)      Sudden trouble seeing from one or both eyes.

4)      Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination.

5)      Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

There are several types of stroke but they all have the same effect. They affect the arteries to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked or bursts. When this happens the brains starts to die hence the need for immediate treatment.

Some of the types of stroke are Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) which is a temporary “Mini Stroke” caused by a small clot, Ischemic Stroke which is when a blood vessel become blocked by a clot and a Hemorrhagic Stroke which is when a blood vessel bursts in the brain.

The reason its so important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a clot are that the current “State of the art” treatment for acute stroke has a three hour window from the onset of the symptoms.

There is a drug that can in fact dissolve blood clots and if given promptly can significantly reduce the effects of a stroke and reduce the permanent disability. Currently only three to five percent of those who have a stroke reach the hospital in time to be considered for this treatment, which is why I’m posting this article. Who knows, it could happen to someone you love right in front of you. Knowing these facts could materially effect the stroke victims chances of having the best possible recovery.

There are many risk factors of stroke and some are hereditary. I’d like to leave you with the stroke factors that can be controlled and some advice in the direction of prevention. (That’s how I roll.)

1)      High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and an important controllable risk factor of stroke. Know your blood pressure and treat it if needed.

2)      Stop smoking cigarette’s… do I really need to explain this one ?

3)      Diabetes Mellitus is a factor for stroke as its often accompanied by high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight. Diet and exercise!

4)      Carotid artery disease, a narrowing of the carotid artery due to fatty deposits (Atherosclerosis)

5)      High blood cholesterol also increases the risk of stroke and oddly, low HDL (good) cholesterol is a factor in men.

6)      Diet… High fat, high cholesterol diet… BAD five or more servings of fruits or vegetables, GOOD.

7)      Physical inactivity. Add Obesity to the physical inactivity and well… double the trouble.

Ok you’ve probably heard some of this before but hearing it again can’t hurt.

If you have any of the above risk factors, come on now, get on it.

I hope should anyone you know suffer a stroke in your presence you’ll remember this information and put it to good use. I could change the life of someone near and dear.

Thanks for reading !