STATE – Stroke is a scary subject. It’s the third leading cause of death of Americans and the leading cause of death of long-term disability in our country and you may be under the assumption that there’s nothing you can do to prevent or stop a stroke. But that’s not the case.
The American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, reports that you DO have the Power To End Stroke by recognizing and controlling your personal risk factors and knowing how to respond in case of emergency.
Although stroke can happen to anyone at anytime, anywhere, studies have shown that African Americans are twice as likely to suffer a first-ever stroke compared to Caucasians because of having an higher incidence of stroke risk factors such as family history of stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.
The Power To End Stroke movement is the American Stroke Association’s national initiative to empower all Americans—and especially those in the African American community—to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and take action to reduce their personal risk for suffering from this deadly and debilitating disease.
“Although there are certain risk factors that you can’t control, like your age or family history, there are areas in your life where subtle changes can make a big difference in your chance for suffering a stroke,” notes Mirian Medina, RN, stroke coordinator at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. “Increasing your level of physical activity, quitting smoking, control of your cholesterol and blood pressure levels and maintaining a healthy diet are real areas in a person’s life that can be managed.”
The American Stroke Association strongly suggests reaching out to your doctor for your the best plan of action to reduce your risk. In the meantime, get your family involved in making healthier choices. Host a family fitness night where the family goes for a walk around the neighborhood or spend time at the local park. Try some creative ways to make some of your favorite meals a bit healthier, like baking instead of frying.
And make sure that your entire household knows to call 9-1-1 immediately if they or someone around them exhibits any of the followings stroke symptoms:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Each day you can make healthy choices that can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke and increase the quality and length of your life. The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recently introduced Life’s Simple 7™ with the goal of improved health by educating the public on how best to live. These seven measures have one unique thing in common: any person can make changes, the steps are not expensive to take and even modest improvements to your health will make a big difference. A great start is to eat healthier and find out where you stand by taking the My Life Check FREE Assessment at www.mylifecheck.heart.org.
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