A Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. There are now over 600,000 new strokes every year in the United States or one every 53 seconds. However, the good news is, strokes can be prevented through diet and exercise! When a stroke occurs it is from one of two reason: 1) a blood vessel in the brain is blocked by a blood clot, or 2) a blood vessel bursts causing bleeding. The area of the brain supplied by that blood vessel is deprived of oxygen and nutrients. This causes damage to that area of the brain. Unless blood flow is restored quickly this damage may be irreversible. Fortunately there is treatment for acute stroke, but this has to be administered rapidly. It is important that patients experiencing the symptoms of stroke call 911 and get to the nearest hospital immediately so they can receive this treatment.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?
• Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Why is there a need to act fast during a stroke?
Ischemic strokes or blood clot strokes, the most common kind, can be treated with a drug called tPA which dissolves artery-obstructing clots. The window of opportunity to use tPA to treat stroke patients is typically three hours, but to be evaluated and receive treatment, patients need to get to the hospital within 60 minutes. A stroke patient who receives TPA within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms are at least 30% more likely than placebo patients to recover from their stroke with little or no disability after three months.

What are the risk factors for a stroke?

Although many times hereditary, there are things you can do to lower your risk of a stroke, like switching to a plant-based diet and getting the proper amount of exercise. You can’t change factors related to heredity or natural processes, but those resulting from lifestyle or environment can be modified with the help of a healthcare professional.

High blood pressure increases your risk of a stroke four to six times. Heart disease, especially a condition known as atrial fibrillation or AF, can double your risk of a stroke. Your risk also increases if you smoke, drink to access, have diabetes, sickle cell disease, high cholesterol, or a family history of stroke. For more detail on the risk factors for stroke http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4716

If you have concerns or questions, please call our office at 248/288-9500 to make an appointment for a free health care screening.

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