May is Stroke Awareness Month
Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. A stroke affects the arteries that lead to the brain, or the arteries that are in the brain. A blood vessel that transports vital oxygen is either blocked by a clot, so the blood flow is stopped, or the blood vessel bursts.There are stroke risk factors that you cannot change:
- Getting older.
- Family history of strokes.
- If you have already had a stroke or heart attack.
There are stroke risk factors that you CAN change:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure.
- Cigarette smoking.
- Artery disease – fatty plaques.
- High blood cholesterol.
- Poor diet: high saturated fat and/or high sodium/salt.
- Lack of exercise.
A stroke does not have to happen, and making lifestyle changes immediately reduces your risk. It is also important to know the signs and symptoms, because strokes happen fast.Remember this acronym - FAST:
- Face (droopy)
- Arm (numbness or weakness)
- Speech (slurred)
- Time - call 911 and have someone drive you to the hospital immediately, but don’t drive yourself!!!