Stroke is a very common occurrence in the United States. When it occurs, its effects on the individual often results in a drastic change in lifestyle, and a season of recuperation and recovery – if possible. Being able to recognize the symptoms of stroke can reduce the damage and enable a much faster recovery period.
The American Heart Association says that an American will have a stroke about every 40 seconds. When it comes to the percentage of people who will have a long-term disability from a disorder of some kind, stroke is a leading cause. Currently, about 800,000 people in America will have a stroke this year and about 20 percent of that number will die. Among those people who will have a stroke in this country, about a third of them will be younger than 65.
Getting treatment quickly is very important when a stroke occurs. This means it is very important to be able to recognize the symptoms and get the individual to a hospital quickly. When treated within three hours of the stroke, the disability is considerably less than when waiting longer.
The Symptoms of a Stroke
There are three key symptoms to watch out for to determine a stroke. When present, it is time to call 911:
- Drooping on one side of the face
- Weakness or numbness in one arm
- Difficulty in speech or in understanding speech
Other symptoms that may also occur:
- Paralysis or weakness in any part of the body.
- Difficulty in walking, dizziness
- Changes in vision
- Extreme headache, may be accompanied by a headache
- Loss of memory
- Difficulty swallowing
- Stiffness of muscles
- Changes in behavior
More about the Symptoms of Stroke
During a stroke, the blood supply is cut off from a part of the brain. This literally causes the brain cells to die and they start doing so rather rapidly. About two million cells will start dying every minute, which is why getting treatment needs to take place as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the greater the damage. Calling 911 and getting to a hospital ASAP is important if you cannot find someone to take you immediately. They can also let the hospital know you are coming in advance so that doctors can be ready to initiate treatment the moment you arrive.
The effects of a stroke can be rather severe, and in some cases, some of the symptoms may be permanent. This often causes people to become partially or even totally disabled, with the effects being more severe if a longer period of time occurs before treatment is received.
In some cases, an individual may be experiencing a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. Although it is different than a stroke, the symptoms are the same. A TIA differs from an actual stroke because the symptoms will disappear and a complete recovery can be expected. Because of their similarity to a real stroke, you cannot tell the difference and time is of utmost importance in the case of a real stroke.
The likelihood of a stroke can often be reduced by lifestyle changes. Many cases of stroke were preventable if the individual took steps in advance to place a greater emphasis on taking care of their own health. The most important include reducing high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, as well as being overweight or smoking. Getting high blood pressure under control is the most important factor. Controlling your sugar is also very important when you have diabetes.
It is also important to be physically active and regularly participate in some activity that raises your heart rate for about 30 minutes or more per day. Those who are less active have a greater risk of stroke. A connection has also been found between staying fit and healthy while younger. This helps to reduce the risk of stroke when you are older and not able to exercise as much.
Eating healthy is also very important when it comes to prevention. Enriching your diet with more grains, and greatly reducing the amount of sugar laden drinks has helped to reduce the risk in many people.
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