Stroke: What You Need to Know and Do

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A stroke is a medical emergency and can cause permanent neurological damage or death. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States, and it is also the no. 4 cause of death in the U.S. It occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs. Without blood or oxygen brain cells die, and the part or function of the body it controls is affected. This is why a stroke can cause paralysis, affect language and vision, and other disability problems and death.

African Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke and higher death rates for stroke compared with whites according to both the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. They also tell us that high blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor of stroke, and that the prevalence of high blood pressure in African Americans in the United States is the highest in the world. There is good news and hope for Black Americans because high blood pressure is a controllable risk factor for stroke. If you are a Black American reading this you need to know your blood pressure numbers and discuss your risk for stroke with your physician.

Other modifiable risks are poor diet, tobacco smoking, high cholesterol, physical inactivity and obesity. Poor diet – e.g. a diet high in saturated fat, trans-fat and cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol levels. Diets high in sodium (salt) can contribute to increased blood pressure. Diets with excess calories contribute to obesity. Researchers tell us that a diet containing five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce the risk of stroke.

Physical inactivity and obesity – if you are inactive and obese you increase your risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Take a brisk walk, take the stairs, and do whatever you can to make your life more active. Move! Try to get a total of at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days. These controllable risk factors, if left unchanged, can increase your risk for a stroke with its potential to cause serious or permanent neurological damage or loss of life.

Today a stroke doesn’t have to lead to disability or death. The key is to recognize a stroke and get to the hospital immediately. If you or someone near you shows the warning signs of a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.

F.A.S.T. is made available by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, and is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you see these signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away.

F.A.S.T. is made available by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, and is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you see these signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away.

F.A S.T.

Face Drooping

Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

Arm Weakness

Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one drift downward?

Speech Difficulty

Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, are they hard to understand?

Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.”

Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time to call 911

If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.



Source by Frederick Garnes