Strokes 101

Imagine eating dinner with your family and then suddenly feeling your face weaken or go numb. Your family notices something is off, so they start asking you questions, but you have a hard time understanding their words. Your vision starts to fail in one of your eyes and you’re assaulted by a wave of dizziness followed by a severe headache.

While any of these are alarming on their own, the combination probably means you are suffering from a “brain attack,” known to most as a stroke. All of the symptoms mentioned above are warnings from your body that your brain is not receiving proper oxygen. Additional symptoms can include double vision, nausea, and drowsiness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 795,000 Americans experience a stroke every year; approximately 130,000 of those who suffer from a stroke die. This means one person dies from a stroke every 4 minutes. Additionally, roughly 610,000 of the 795,000 who suffer from a stroke every year are experiencing one for the first time.

Although family history, race, gender and age impact a person’s susceptibility to a stroke, the major influencer is lifestyle choices. How a person chooses to live, in terms of diet, fitness, and other health factors, will either increase or decrease their likelihood to have a stroke. In addition, certain health risks can be handled before they lead to a stroke, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and atrial fibrillation.

Aside from responding to health risks (i.e. diabetes and atrial fibrillation), establishing a healthy diet, fitness routine, and a lifestyle of moderation will decrease the likelihood of a stroke. Here are some quick tips to remember:

Exercise
The CDC recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week (bicycling, water aerobics, brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (running, swimming laps); both should be paired with two or more days of weight-training exercises.

Diet
Limit the amount of red meat, and increase the amount of vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts. Try seafood in lieu of red meat, poultry, and eggs, while also limiting sodium, solid fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

Moderation
Do not drink alcohol in excess. Although the studies are ongoing, it seems as if one glass of red wine a day could lower chances of a stroke. Portion sizes are just as important with drinks as they are with food; remember the standard sizes are as follows: 5 oz. glass of wine, 12 oz. of beer or 1.5 oz. of hard liquor.

Break Bad Habits
Smoking, sitting for long periods of time, and engaging in long-term stressful activities will increase a person’s susceptibility to a stroke.

Always remember to pay attention to the warnings your body sends. If you are worried or confused about a symptom in your body, contact us to set up an appointment. In case of an emergency, immediately dial 911.