Early recognition, important intervention for better stroke recovery outcome

According to the CDC, 795,000 Americans will suffer a stroke each year. Early recognition and intervention is extremely important to produce the best stroke recovery outcome, as well as knowing the risk factors and ways to prevent stroke in the first place. You could save a life, including your own.

Stroke risk factors

Several factors increase the risk of a stroke:

• Age (the risk increases after age 65, although 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 shots

• Ischemic stroke: accounts for 80% of all strokes and involves the blockage of an artery which cuts off the supply of 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 look like a stroke, but go away and do not cause permanent damage. However, mini-strokes are usually a warning sign – according to the Mayo Clinic, 1 in 3 people who have a transient ischemic attack will eventually have a stroke, often within a year. In addition, the risk of stroke is particularly high within 48 hours of a mini-stroke.

Stroke symptoms

Know the following stroke symptoms seen in both men and women:

• Numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, especially on one side

• Confusion, including difficulty speaking or understanding speech

• Difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes

• Difficulty walking or balance problems or dizziness

• Headaches, especially if severe and sudden onset

Time is of the essence when it comes to detecting a stroke – every minute counts from the first moment symptoms appear, as some stroke treatment options are only available within the first 3 hours of onset symptoms.

The acronym FAST 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 sagging on one side of the face?

• Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does an arm drift down?

• Speech: ask the person to repeat a short sentence. Do their words sound wrong?

• Time: note the time when the symptoms start; call 911 immediately if any of these symptoms are present, even if they go away. Get the person to the hospital as soon as possible.

Stroke prevention

Many strokes are preventable. Maintaining a healthy weight, consuming a limited diet of processed foods, and exercising regularly, such as walking, decrease the risk of stroke. Abstain from smoking and limit your alcohol intake, and control your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you have diabetes, be diligent in monitoring blood sugar levels.

The Hickman offers an attractive option for those seeking help 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. on 7, as well as easy access to everything the borough has to offer, including restaurants, shopping, theater, parks and walking trails. Call 484-760-6300 to schedule a visit and see how The Hickman is the right place for you.

Promotion of the well-being of the elderly is provided by The Hickman, a Quaker-affiliated licensed personal care home in West Chester. Visit www.thehickman.org or call 484-760-6300.

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