EARLY RECOGNITION AND INTERVENTION IMPORTANT FOR BEST STROKE RECOVERY OUTCOME
According to the CDC, 795,000 Americans will experience a stroke each year. Early recognition and intervention are extremely important in producing the best recovery outcome when a stroke occurs, as well as knowing the risk factors and ways in which to prevent strokes from occurring in the first place. You could save a life, including your own.
Risk factors for stroke
Several factors increase a person’s risk of experiencing a stroke:
• Age (risk increases over age 65, though strokes can affect people of all ages)
• Diet high in sodium and low in fiber
• Lack of physical exercise • Being a smoker • Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease or diabetes
Types of strokes
• Ischemic stroke: accounts for 80% of all strokes, and involves a blockage in an artery that cuts off oxygen and nutrients to the brain
• Hemorrhagic stroke: accounts for 20% of all strokes and involves an artery that ruptures, spilling blood into the brain
• Transient ischemic attack (mini stroke): an episode with symptoms that are like a stroke, but that go away and do not cause permanent damage. However, mini strokes are usually a warning — according to Mayo Clinic, 1 in 3 individuals who have a transient ischemic attack will eventually have a stroke, often within a year. Furthermore, the risk of a stroke is especially high within 48 hours after a mini stroke takes place.
Symptoms of stroke
Know the following symptoms of stroke, seen in both men and women:
• Numbness or weakness in face, arm or legs, especially on one side
• Confusion, including trouble speaking or understanding speech
• Trouble seeing from one or both eyes
• Trouble walking or problems with balance or dizziness
• Headache, especially if severe with sudden onset
Time is of the essence when it comes to detecting stroke — every minute counts from the first moment symptoms appear, as some treatment options for stroke are only available within the first 3 hours of symptom onset.
The acronym F.A.S.T. is a helpful way to remember what to do if you think you or someone you know might be having a stroke.
• Face: Ask the person to smile. Is there drooping on one side of the face?
• Arms: Have the person raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
• Speech: Ask the person to repeat a short phrase. Do their words sound slurred?
• Time: Note the time symptoms start; call 911immediately if any of these symptoms are present, even if they go away. Get the individual to a hospital as quickly as possible.
Many strokes are preventable. Maintaining a healthy weight, consuming a diet of limited processed foods and getting regular exercise such as walking decrease the risk of stroke. Refrain from smoking and limit alcohol consumption, as well as control your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you are diabetic, be diligent in tracking blood sugar levels.
The Hickman offers an inviting option for those seeking assistance after a stroke. Located on a tree-lined street in the heart of downtown West Chester, residents enjoy the convenience of home-cooked meals, housekeeping, social programming and 24⁄7 security as well as easy access to all the borough has to offer, including restaurants, shops, theater, parks and walking trails. Call 484-760-6300 to schedule a tour and see how The Hickman is the right place for you.