Many of us have been touched in some way by a stroke. Whether it's a family member, friend, colleague, or neighbor, chances are someone we know has suffered from this seemingly sudden and sometimes devastating health calamity.
A stroke, also known as a "brain attack," occurs when an artery or blood vessel becomes blocked and blood flow to an area of the brain is prevented. When this happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. The specific effects of a stroke depend on which area of the brain is affected. Some stroke patients can struggle with severe speech, memory, and muscle problems while others may only suffer weakness in an arm or leg. The most fortunate stroke victims make a complete recovery, but two thirds of stroke survivors have some type of disability.
Since May is Stroke Awareness Month, take a few minutes to review the signs of a stroke, learn how to respond in the event that one occurs, and discover smart choices you can make to prevent strokes from happening to yourself and your loved ones down the road.
How can you tell if you or someone you know may be having a stroke? Use the "FAST" method to check for warning signs:
- F = Face - Ask the person to smile. If one side of the face droops, that's a sign.
- A = Arms - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one droop downward?
- S = Speech - Have the person repeat a simple phrase. Slurred or strange speech is a sign.
- T = Time - Time is of the essence. If you observe any one of these signs, call 911 immediately.
If you suspect a stroke is happening or has occurred, call an ambulance or seek immediate emergency room care. Acting fast can make have a positive effect on the severity of the stroke's consequences.
Manage high blood pressure, don't smoke, and limit alcohol consumption. Treat circulation problems and control diabetes. Diet is also significant factor in stroke prevention. Shoot for a diet rich in low-cholesterol, plant-based foods containing healthy fats. And make sure to get plenty of exercise five times a week at least.
For more information about strokes and their prevention, visit www.storke.org.
Call or contact Mathews Insurance, Inc. today with any health insurance questions.