May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is brain damage caused by a blocked blood vessel or bleeding in the brain. It is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability.
Signs of Stroke
Symptoms vary widely depending on the portion of the brain affected, but there are some common signs of a stroke that should throw up a red flag for you to see your doctor immediately about, including but not limited to:
- Slurred speech
- Weakness, numbness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg (i.e. crooked smile)
- Dizziness, loss of balance, or loss of coordination
- Numbness on one side of body
- Sudden blurring or loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Loss of one half of the visual field in one or both eyes
Stroke Prevention in Seniors
Strokes are very common, especially among the senior population, and can be prevented both by being able to identify symptoms of a stroke and by taking steps in everyday life to reduce the risk of stroke. Here are some actionable items to guide you:
- Have your blood pressure checked at least every two years. Reducing your diastolic blood pressure by just a little can cut your risk of stroke nearly in half.
- The blood-thinning prescription drug warfarin or aspirin can greatly decrease the risk of stroke.
- Have your cholesterol levels checked, eat a low-fat diet and exercise regularly.
- Walk, if you can. Staying active can reduce your risk of stroke.
- Quit smoking. Ask your doctor about the many strategies available to help you quit.
- Follow your doctor’s dietary and medication recommendations for lowering your blood sugar.
- Maintain a healthy weight and eat a nutritious and balanced diet.
- If you have mechanical heart valves, you should be taking warfarin, and your doctor should do blood tests regularly to make sure the dose is correct.
- Although unproven, a diet rich in foods containing vitamin E may reduce the severity of a stroke.
Visit the National Stroke Association Website for more information about strokes, preventative measures and life after a stroke.
Recovery from Stroke
If you or a loved one has experienced a stroke, recovery may bring on many challenges with the tasks of daily living. A home caregiver from BrightStar Care can help in a number of ways as you transition home from the hospital. Our professionally trained in-home care providers offer help with everyday personal tasks as well as household responsibilities. For more information about how BrightStar Care can help you or a loved one, contact your local BrightStar Care team or call 866.618.7827.
National Stroke Association is the only national non-profit organization in the U.S. that focuses 100 percent of its efforts on stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.
The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association dedicated to prevention, diagnosis and treatment to save lives from stroke.
The American Stroke Foundation provides multifaceted services that are dedicated to improving the quality of life of stroke survivors and their caregivers, encompassing many different levels: physical, social, psychological, and economic.
The Brain Attack Coalition is a group of professional, voluntary, and governmental organizations dedicated to setting direction, advancing knowledge, and communicating the best practices to prevent and treat stroke.
YoungStroke is a nonprofit advocacy organization formed to specifically address the unmet needs of young adult stroke survivors and their caregivers.