May is “Stroke Awareness Month” through the American Stroke Association.
According to their website, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. That equates to approximately 800,000 strokes per year.
The unfortunate part of this statistic is that a majority of strokes are preventable. This blog will help identify a handful of simple lifestyle changes that can go a long way in helping prevent strokes.
Ways to Prevent Stroke
High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for strokes.
This “silent killer”, aptly named because it usually does not display noticeable symptoms, affects one out of every three adults. Not only does high blood pressure damage blood vessels, it also is associated with vision loss, heart failure, heart attacks, kidney disease, and even sexual dysfunction.
An interesting fact from The American Heart Association is that at age 50, individuals without high blood pressure have a life expectancy that is 5 years longer than those with high blood pressure.
The best way to know if you suffer from high blood pressure is to measure your blood pressure regularly. For most individuals, a normal blood pressure is less than 120/80mmHg. Those with blood pressures that measure higher should schedule an appointment with their primary care provider.
Some other important lifestyle changes to help prevent stroke include: controlling high cholesterol, engaging in physical activity, controlling blood sugar, eating healthy, losing weight, stopping smoking, and getting quality sleep.
Know the Warning Signs
The ability to identify warning signs, and having the ability to call for emergency assistance, could be the difference between life and death.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke will ensure getting the correct treatment as quickly as possible. To help remember the symptoms, remember this easy acronym: F.A.S.T.
F- Face Drooping: Is one side of the face numb or drooping? If there is a smile, does it look uneven or lopsided?
A- Arm Weakness: Is one arm weaker than the other or numb? With both arms raised, does one arm drift downward?
S- Speech Difficulty: Is the individual speaking differently than normal or having trouble speaking? Can the individual repeat a sentence correctly?
T- Time to call 911: If someone is showing any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911. Time is of the essence and medical help can be the difference between life and death.
What Else Can I Do?
Our goal at Sona is to promote the health and wellness of our patients. Next time you visit the pharmacy, please take a moment to ask one our pharmacists to check your blood pressure, or discuss your potential risk factors for stroke.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Help spread the word of Stroke Awareness Month by sharing this blog, and consider making small lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on helping prevent strokes.
Amber Korn, PharmD