STATE — According to the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among Hispanics. The American Stroke Association is urging families to talk about their risks for stroke throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct.15.
Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain and occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.
Risk factors increase the chance of suffering a stroke. While some risk factors can’t be helped, like family history, race or age, most can be modified, treated or controlled, including risks like obesity, smoking, uncontrolled blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Nearly 75 percent of Mexican Americans, age 20 and older, are considered overweight or obese while over 20 percent of Hispanics age 18 and older suffer with high blood pressure. Research also suggests that Hispanics are almost twice as likely to have diabetes as compared with non-Hispanic whites of a similar age.
“Stroke doesn’t have to happen,” notes Mirian Medina, RN, stroke coordinator at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. “There are things that each of us can do to reduce our risk–like losing weight, exercising and going to the doctor for a check-up. By taking control of our health today, we can live longer, stronger lives in the future.”
During National Hispanic Heritage Month, the American Stroke Association suggests that families find time to discuss stroke risk factors and what steps can be taken to reduce them. The Association also urges everyone to learn the warning signs of a stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately if you or someone around you exhibits any of the following:
- Sudden weakness in the face, arm or leg
- Sudden trouble speaking
- Sudden dizziness
- Sudden trouble seeing
- Sudden severe headache.
For more information, visit strokeassociation.org
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