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May is National Stroke Awareness MonthMay 17, 2023
Stroke is a serious and often life-threatening medical emergency that happens when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 795,000 people in the U.S. suffer from a stroke every year, and every 3.5 minutes, one person dies from a stroke.
Approximately 80% of all strokes are caused by lifestyle choices.
Keep reading to learn more about the warning signs and risk factors for stroke, as well as dietary changes and other steps you can take to help reduce your risk.
Know the Warning Signs
Every second counts when it comes to treating a stroke. Early intervention can prevent permanent brain damage and other complications. If you suspect a stroke is happening to you or someone you love, call 911 immediately.
Look at the time of onset and use the B.E.F.A.S.T. test (below) to help remember the warning signs of stroke:
Know the Risk Factors
Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, obesity, physical inactivity, family history of stroke, and age (those over age 55 have a higher risk).
Other factors that may increase the likelihood of stroke include atrial fibrillation, previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), certain medical conditions such as sickle cell disease, and the use of certain medications.*
*The benefits of certain medications may outweigh the potential risks. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding medication changes or adjustments.
A Healthy Diet and Physical Activity Can Lower Your Risk
Eating a healthy diet and making healthy choices, such as choosing fruits and vegetables, limiting processed and high-fat foods, and limiting alcohol consumption, can help lower your risk of stroke.
In addition, being active for a minimum of 30 minutes every day can help control blood pressure, increase good cholesterol, and make your heart stronger. Physical activity also makes your blood vessels more flexible and reduces the chance of having a stroke.
Making Small Changes Now is Worth it for a Lifetime of Better Health Later!
Not only during Stroke Awareness Month, but all year long – make your health a priority. A healthy lifestyle not only promotes overall well-being and improves quality of life, but it can also be life-saving.
Talk to your doctor about lifestyle choices that can help prevent stroke from happening in the future.
To find a Redeemer Health family doctor or primary care physician, visit the Redeemer Health website.