In May alone, some 65,000 Americans will experience a stroke with many unaware that they were even at risk. Less than a third will arrive in the emergency room within three hours, the optimal time period for better outcomes. Strokes can happen to anyone and 80% of strokes are preventable.
May marks National Stroke Awareness Month, and this year Palmeira and the National Stroke Association are turning the spotlight on the 10 modifiable risk factors that account for 90% of strokes globally. Hypertension remains the single most important modifiable risk factor, accounting for nearly 48% of strokes. With eight in 10 people experiencing their first stroke having hypertension, getting your blood pressure checked is an important first step in controlling your stroke risk.
Research has shown that unhealthy behaviors such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and smoking have an adverse effect on health and increase your stroke risk. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off (ischemic) or when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic). Brain cells begin to die when deprived of oxygen. For this reason, when a stroke occurs, time is of the utmost importance. Acting quickly can save your loved one’s life and improve their quality of life.
During National Stroke Awareness Month, the National Stroke Association is urging the public to look at their stroke risk factors, and pledge to make at least one change to reduce their stroke risk. Here’s how much stroke would be reduced if each were eliminated:
- Hypertension 47.9%
- Physical inactivity 35.8%
- Lipids (blood fats) 26.8%
- Poor diet 23.2%
- Obesity 18.6%
- Smoking 12.4%
- Heart causes 9.1%
- Alcohol intake 5.8%
- Stress 5.8%
- Diabetes 3.9%
Beyond reducing your risk for stroke, knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke are equally important. Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke and around 800,000 people will have a stroke in the United States this year alone.
“Learning how to recognize a stroke is just as important as reducing your risk factors,” says Gen Barter, CEO of Palmeira Home + Health. “We know that recognition of stroke symptoms leads to receiving medical attention faster, which results in better outcomes. Knowing the signs of stroke, how to prevent it, and how to help others around you, just might save a life.”
Sadly, however, fewer than half of 9-1-1 calls for stroke are made within one hour of symptom onset and fewer than half of callers correctly identify stroke as the reason for their call. The acronym FAST is an easy way to identify the most common symptoms:
F – Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A – Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is their speech slurred?
T – Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
A common misconception is that strokes occur only in older adults. Although, your stroke risk increases with age, a stroke can happen to anyone at any time. About 15% of ischemic strokes occur in young adults and adolescents.
The need for public awareness surrounding stroke prevention and awareness has never been greater. Despite being a leading cause of adult long-term disability, and the fifth leading cause of death, less than one in five Americans can correctly classify all five stroke symptoms:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss or balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Barter adds that the time to take action is now. This May, during National Stroke Awareness month, get to know your stroke risk factors and learn to better identify the signs and symptoms of stroke. The life you save just might be your own.
When it comes to stroke recovery, two-thirds of those who experience stroke make it through the stroke and end up needing some form of mental and physical rehabilitation. During the recovery period, patients work to regain the skills and physical abilities that were lost during the stroke.
Learn more about stroke recovery through Palmeira – https://www.palmhh.com/keys-to-better-outcomes/post-stroke-management/
About the National Stroke Association
For more than 35 years, the National Stroke Association (NSA) has helped countless patients, families, and caregivers. This year, the NSA will fold its efforts into those of the American Stroke Association (ASA), a division of the American Heart Association (AHA). Their common goals are to reduce death and disability from stroke. By combining resources, funds will be working harder to reduce the toll that stroke takes on families, communities and our nation.
About Palmeira Home + Health
Palmeira Home + Health, a division of Palmeira Health Services headquartered in Irvine, CA, is a leading home health care provider offering skilled nursing services to patients in Arizona and Nevada. Palmeira helps patients recover faster by initiating follow up care sooner within 24 hours, using a sophisticated Point-of-Care Technology for a more effective continuum of care, and providing a coordinated treatment regimen focused on lower hospital readmission rates. Palmeira currently works with over 500 physicians, hospitals and rehabilitation centers to provide services with lower readmission rates half the national average. Learn more at www.PalmHH.com.
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