Ways to Reduce Threat of Stroke

Every six seconds, someone in the world dies from stoke. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. About 137,000 Americans die of stroke every year, about equivalent to the total population of Eugene, Oregon.

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. You can greatly reduce your risk for stroke through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.

"Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds and while that is a statistic to some, it's a life abruptly changed for the person who suffered the stroke and the person's family," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH.  Among the actions available today to reduce stroke and heart attacks, patients should learn and follow their ABCS:

  • Aspirin for people at risk
  • Blood pressure control
  • Cholesterol management
  • Smoking cessation

 

The risk for stroke varies

Anyone can have a stroke, but some populations are at higher risk than others. Compared to Caucasians, African-Americans are at nearly twice the risk of having a stroke. Hispanic Americans' risk falls between the two.  Moreover, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to die following a stroke than are Caucasians.

High blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke, affects 68 million adults in the United States and about half of adults with high blood pressure do not have their condition under control.

Sudden symptoms of stroke

Stroke can cause death or significant disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, and emotional problems. Some new treatments can reduce stroke damage if patients get medical care soon after symptoms begin. When a stroke happens, it is important to recognize the symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away, and get to a hospital quickly.

The sudden onset of any of the following symptoms require immediate medical attention:

>> numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
>> confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
>> trouble seeing in one or both eyes
>> trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
>> severe headache with no known cause