The Phoenix


- By Jennifer Singley Promoting Senior Wellness is provided by The Hickman, a Quaker-affiliated licensed personal care home in West Chester. Visit www.thehickman. org or call 484-760-6300.

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)

• Obesity

• 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.

Stroke prevention

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.


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