Stroke kills about 14,000 Americans each year – that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths. Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 4 minutes, someone dies of stroke. Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke, according to the CDC.
People over 55 have a greater chance of stroke, and the risk increases as you age. People with high blood pressure or diabetes are most at risk for a stroke.
Know the signs of a stroke:
- 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 or loss of balance.
- Severe headache with no known cause.
What immediate action should you take if you think you or someone else is having a stroke:
Remember the acronym “FAST” – Face, Arms, Speech, Time. If you think someone is having a stroke, observe their face for any drooping, their arms for numbness or weakness on one side and their speech for slurring or strange words. If any of these changes are present, it might be as stroke, so call 911 right away and note the time of the first symptom; this information is valuable to medical professionals as they decide the best course of treatment.
- Controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes is key. If you need medications to keep these conditions under control, take them! The pills don’t do anything for you if they just sit in the medicine cabinet.
- Maintain a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat, trans fat, minimizing processed food with added sugars and salt.
- Being physically active, which helps reach and maintain a healthy body weight.
With the summer heat upon us, knowing the signs of strokes and what to do, can save a life.
Source: CDC, American Heart Association, Daniel Antoniello