|Photo by Trying2.|
For more statistics about the prevalence of stroke, see the CDC's page.
Note: I am not a doctor. Please talk to a licensed medical professional about how to reduce your risk for stroke.
Risks for stroke include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, TIAs (sometimes called "mini strokes") and a prior stroke.
In addition to making healthy lifestyle choices, you should be aware of the signs of stroke in order to get medical attention quickly.
Here are some of the common signs of stroke:
- Loss of Balance / Dizziness
- Loss of Senses--Blurry Vision, Loss of Hearing, Diminished Sense of Touch
- Concentration Problems / Confusion
- Severe Headache
- Slurred Speech or Loss of Speech
- Droopy Face
- Numbness / Weakness in the Limbs (particularly on one side)
Twice a year, I review these signs of stroke and the signs of heart attack with my husband and his secretary. Explore the information provided by the National Stroke Association and by the American Stroke Association.
If you experience any one of these symptoms or observe them in another person--of any age--call 911 immediately. Know that young people can suffer strokes as well. In fact the rate of strokes for people under 45 has increased in the last decade.
Time is of the essence.
About 80% of strokes are ischemic, meaning caused by clots, which can be treated with anti-clotting agents. However, these drugs are best administered within 1 to 3 hours of the onset of the stroke. (I've read variation in the window of time for treatment. Clearly, the sooner, the better.)
Here is a 2 minute video about signs of strokes, featuring a neurologist and actual stroke survivors:
Stroke Survivors: Celebrity Boomers
Dystextia: Sign of Brain Trouble
Subtle and Atypical Signs of Heart Attack