Saturday, June 17, 2017

Healthy Habits: Stroke Awareness

On behalf of the AANP, I have a chance to post this interview with Dr. Cooke about stroke awarenes.

What is a stroke, and what causes it?
The fifth leading cause of death in America, stroke is most easily described as a “brain attack” caused by interrupted blood flow to the brain. Without that blood flow, which carries oxygen needed for proper brain function, the brain begins to shut down. Often, this results in damage to the brain cells, which can lead to a loss of some or all functioning within that area of the brain.

There are two kinds of stroke: hemorrhagic and ischemic. Hemorrhagic strokes are less common but considered the most serious, accounting for about 13% of stroke cases but 40% of all stroke deaths. This type of stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel (such as an aneurysm) bursts, causing bleeding into the brain

Ischemic strokes are most common and account for 87% of all strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when there’s a blockage, or clot, in one of the brain’s blood vessels. There are two types of ischemic strokes: thrombotic and embolic. Thrombotic strokes happen when a blood clot develops in the blood vessels inside the brain. Embolic strokes happen when a blood clot develops elsewhere in the body and travels to the brain.

What are some of the risk factors for stroke?
While there are risk factors, it’s important to point out that stroke can happen to any person, at any age, at any time. Common risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, poor diet, poor sleep habits, low levels of physical activity and obesity. Diabetes, arterial diseases, atrial fibrillation and sickle cell disease can raise the risk of stroke significantly as well. You can work with your nurse practitioner or other health care provider to identify to address these factors.

Sadly, there are some factors that you cannot control and which increase your risk of stroke. These include your age, gender, race and family history.

What are some stroke symptoms, and how do I know if I, my children or family member is having one?
Keep in mind the FAST acronym to help you remember the most common warning signs of stroke. Be sure to commit this to memory and help teach your family members as well.
·       FACE: Does one side of the face droop?
·       ARMS: When raising both arms, does one drift downward?
·       SPEECH: Is speech slurred or strange?
·      TIME: Act immediately; call 9-1-1 if any of these symptoms occur.

Remember, the more time that elapses before treatment, the greater the risk to the patient of a poor outcome.

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