A stroke is essentially an attack on the brain that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel, and interrupts blood flow to an area of the brain. When a stroke occurs, brain cells become damaged or die, which can cause weakness of limbs and even paralysis. Every year, thousands of Americans suffer from stroke or stroke-related symptoms. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. According to the National Stroke Association, however, about 80% of strokes are preventable.
While they are not totally preventable, certain lifestyle choices can be made to lower the risk of stroke.
- Know your blood pressure and keep it under control
- Stop smoking, which can double the risk of having a stroke
- Limit alcohol use to 2 drinks a day
- Be aware of your cholesterol levels
- Practice a exercise and diet regimen
According to the American Heart Association, if you or someone you know are suffering from these symptoms, call 911 or seek a hospital as quickly as possible.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion , trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance and coordination
While stroke is a serious condition, there are about 7 million stroke survivors living in the United States today. Early detection is key to survival. Understanding the causes and symptoms help to improve chances of survival.