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May is National Stroke Awareness Month

A stroke is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the brain. This blockage can affect a person’s speech, movement, memory which results in challenges in functioning in a person’s daily life.

Warning signs-seek medical attention:

  • Weakness in the face, arm, or leg

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Vision loss

  • Dizziness

  • Brief loss of consciousness

Risk Factors:

  • High blood pressure

  • High Cholesterol

  • Diabetes

  • Smoking

  • High alcohol intake

Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US

More than 800,000 strokes happen each year in the United States. Strokes are a major cause of disability in adults. 75% of strokes happen in people over 65; however, strokes have occurred in children and young adults.

Prevention-Up to 80% of strokes may be prevented.

Ways to decrease the risk of stroke are living a healthier lifestyle and regular physician check-ups. Let’s look at some ways we can reduce the chances of experiencing a debilitating injury such as a stroke.

Let’s take a look at how to decrease the risks

1. Lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is a considerable risk factor in both men and women that can double or quadruple the stroke risk if the blood pressure is out of control. Monitoring blood pressure and medical treatment is critical in blood pressure management.

2. Healthy lifestyle

Exercise, good nutritional habits, and weight management are all part of a healthy lifestyle. Avoiding excessive weight can increase a person’s path to obesity, which dramatically raises the risks of a stroke. Additionally, a healthier lifestyle of eating and exercise can help prevent serious consequences of diabetes, which is also a contributing risk factor for strokes. Checking your blood sugar through regular physician visits will ensure blood sugar is managed appropriately as well. Losing 10 pounds can be a great start and can have an impact on stroke risk. Typically it’s much more challenging as we age to ‘exercise our way to an appropriate weight’; however, exercise is essential and can aid in weight reduction and blood pressure management as well. Even exercising for 30 minutes 5 days a week can be very beneficial. Monitoring calories and exercise is a way to hold yourself accountable for a healthy lifestyle and reduce your stroke risk. Free mobile apps such as Fitness Pal are relatively simple to set up to monitor calories, good nutrition, and exercise. A daily routine of using a type of program such as this will increase the chance of sustaining positive progress towards good health.

If you drink - moderation is key

Drinking a little alcohol every day is okay, and some studies actually show that a drink per day could decrease your risk of stroke. Red wine is the best choice since it has the most health benefits. However, drinking more than two drinks a day increases your risk of experiencing a stroke.

Quit smoking

Smoking accelerates clot formation in a couple of different ways. It thickens your blood and increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries. Along with a healthy diet and exercise, smoking cessation is one of the most effective lifestyle changes that will help reduce your stroke risk dramatically.

FAST - The National Stroke Association has created an easy acronym to help you remember, recognize and act on the signs of a stroke for yourself or someone you love. Here’s the break down of FAST:

  • Face Does one side of your face droop when you smile?

  • Arms When you lift both arms, does one arm drift back down?

  • Speech Is your speech slurred, or does it sound odd?

  • Time if you see any of these signs in yourself or someone else, call 911 right away.

Getting medical treatment within three hours of the first symptoms of a stroke can make a difference in the severity of the residual impact from the stroke, let alone surviving a stroke.

How Indianapolis Rehab Hospital can help

At Indianapolis Rehab Hospital, we care for and treat stroke survivors in need of extensive rehabilitation when the stroke has caused a significant decrease in the patient’s ability to function day-to-day.

With a focus on addressing the physical, cognitive, psychological, social, educational, and work-related needs, our specialized team of stroke rehabilitation experts works with you to create a comprehensive, well-rounded individualized stroke program just for you. Our ultimate goal is to get you back to the life you once lived.

If you or a loved one has recently experienced a stroke, the time to act is now. Give Indianapolis Rehab Hospital a call today at 493.333.9020.

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