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Health Minute: National Stroke Awareness Month

By: Claude

May is National Stroke Awareness Month and Katie Hall, RN, Stroke Program Coordinator at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center shares how to recognize stroke symptoms and lower our risk of stroke.

What happens when you have a stroke?

When someone has a stroke their blood flow to their brain is cut off. There are several types of strokes that a person can have including a:

· Hemorrhagic stroke – This is when a blood vessel in the brain leaks and causes bleeding.

· Ischemic stroke – This is when blood flow is blocked or reduced in the arteries to the brain.

· Transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke – This causes short-term symptoms that go away on their own, but may be a warning sign that you’re likely to have a more severe stroke.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

At Adventist HealthCare, we recommend using the acronym, BE FAST, to recognize signs and symptoms of a stroke.

B – Balance – Has someone suddenly lost their balance or coordination, and are dizzy?

E – Eyes – Have they had sudden vision changes, such as blurred or double vision, or even loss of vision in one of both eyes?

F – Face – Are they experiencing facial dropping? Do they have a severe headache?

A – Arm – Are they experiencing weakness or numbness in one arm?

S – Speech – Are they having trouble speaking or are they suddenly confused?

T – Time – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 so they can get to a hospital quickly.

It’s important to get care as soon as possible, if you or someone around you are experiencing a stroke. Receiving immediate care can help minimize any long-term effects of a stroke and some circumstances prevent death.

Can I prevent a stroke?

While you can’t fully prevent a stroke, you can lower your risk of having one. Ask your primary care physician about your personal risk of stroke and how you can lower your risk. In general, we recommend taking steps to live a healthy lifestyle, such as:

· Eating healthy

· Exercising regularly

· Don’t smoke

· Control any medical conditions like high cholesterol or blood pressure, and diabetes.

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