Brain Attacks: What is a Stroke?
Controlling Your Risk
Since strokes are the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in America it’s time we got educated. A stroke is a blockage or rupture of the blood vessels that feed the brain. Given that it affects blood vessels it is easy to see the connection with high blood pressure and why it is important to control external risks to the disease such as:
- Keeping a healthy blood pressure – know your numbers!
- Maintain a healthy body weight – obesity and a high BMI (body mass index) can heighten your risk.
- Eat a well-balanced diet – with lots of fruits and veggies.
- Beware of high sodium intake – and the hidden places it can lurk – from frozen foods to white bread, to antacids.
- Keep exercising – a good goal is 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week making sure each muscle group gets attention
- Quit smoking – or don’t start
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- If you are prescribed medication to treat a risk factor, be sure to take it!
Know Stroke Warning Signs
Now, you know the risks you can control. Would you know if someone was having a stroke? Would you know what to do? The American Stroke Association has this checklist if you think someone may be having a stroke:
- Sudden numbness on the 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 of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms remember this could be a medical emergency so call 9-1-1 or call your doctor right away! Visit the American Stroke Association for more information and for donation information.
CalorieKing is a great tool to help you track your nutrition and exercise, and find motivation to curb the other risk factors that might be affecting your health. We have America’s BEST food database to help you measure your calories, fat, and sodium, and we also have dozens of articles that can inform your health choices – just search for what you are looking for here!
See our related blog on High Blood Pressure.