Stroke is nowadays one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with approximately 795,000 cases every year, about 140,000 of which are fatal. This means that, on average, every 40 seconds an American gets a stroke, and every 4 minutes one dies of it.
Stroke is nowadays one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with approximately 795,000 cases every year, about 140,000 of which are fatal. This means that, on average, every 40 seconds an American gets a stroke, and every 4 minutes one dies of it.Expenses on recovering from stroke, including health care, medications and lost productivity, come to $33 billion annually (Harvard Health journal even states it’s $69 billion!). It is also the leading cause of long-term disability among Americans. So how do we recognize if a person is having a stroke and ensure getting them to emergency rooms as quickly as possible? A stroke is a condition that happens when blood supply to our brain is low or totally cut off because of clots or for other reasons. Thus, lack of oxygen and nutrients that ensure overall functionality of our brain cause consequent death of brain cells that, in turn, causes failure of certain physical or mental abilities, in the worst cases resulting into loss of control of one’s muscles or memory. Probability of suffering from a stroke depends on a number of factors, some of which we are able to control and some, unfortunately, not. The former ones are
- Controlling blood pressure, as high pressure is what ‘adds’ very much to the risk of a stroke;
- Maintaining decent level of physical activities, as it contributes to the bloodstream’s good work and decreases risks;
- Giving up smoking, as it may cause clot formation;
- Establishing moderate drinking levels, and turning to red wine when doing it, as it possesses some brain-protecting properties.
What about the latter, those are
- Age, with people about 65 being at the highest risk. Still, a stroke can and does happen to people of all ages, including youngsters;
- Race, with African-Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives having a stroke more often than white Americans, and Hispanic people falling in between them;
- Genetics, including family history of strokes.
- Confusion or speech defects;
- Numbness or weakness of limb(s) or face;
- Trouble seeing;
- Strong dizziness or severe headache;
- Inability to walk properly
- F for Face Drooping. Ask a person to smile, and if one side of their face is numb, making the smile uneven, it is an alarming sign;
- A for Arm Weakness. If a person cannot raise both arms simultaneously, with one of them drifting downwards, that’s a sign as well;
- S for Speech Defects. If one can’t speak clearly and distinctly, or even displays inability to speak or understand speech at all, this is a stroke result. Ask them to repeat some very simple phrase to make sure this is the thing;
- T for 911 Time. The person showing any of the aforementioned symptoms must be taken to hospital right away. Don’t calm down if these symptoms disappear, this is possible and must not result into thought that a person is fine and doesn’t need help anymore.
If help wasn’t delivered to a person on time and death also hasn’t occurred, there are almost always very serious health consequences. Among the most common are flawed judgment, mobility and/or speech impairment, emotional and/or perceptional issues, memory loss. All those cause major changes in economic, social, familial and personal life of stroke sufferers. Therefore early recognition of this condition in people saves their lives (or at least diminishes health consequences) and ensures decent level of life quality afterwards.