May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and as a hospice facility, we want to take this opportunity to raise awareness about the warning signs of stroke, the importance of acting, and provide some helpful advice for those who have experienced a stroke.
Stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or blocked, causing brain cells to die. The sooner a stroke is recognized and treated, the better the chances are for recovery. Here are some warning signs and action steps to keep in mind.
Warning Signs of Stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
- 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 experiences any of these warning signs, it is important to take immediate action. Time is critical when it comes to stroke treatment.
- Call 911 immediately. Don’t drive to the hospital yourself, as emergency medical services can begin treatment on the way to the hospital.
- Note the time when symptoms first appeared. This information is important for medical professionals to determine the best course of treatment.
- If you are with someone who is experiencing symptoms, stay with them until emergency medical services arrive. Provide comfort and reassurance, and help them to stay calm.
Prevention is key when it comes to stroke. Here are some helpful tips to reduce your risk:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Keep your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke.
- Control your cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing your risk of stroke.
- Manage your diabetes if you have it. Diabetes increases your risk of stroke.
- Seek medical attention if you experience symptoms such as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a “mini-stroke.” These warning signs should not be ignored and should be taken seriously.
In conclusion, stroke is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate action. Recognizing the warning signs, taking action, and following best practices for prevention can help reduce the risk of stroke and improve outcomes for those who experience one. At Hospice of Southwest Ohio, we are committed to providing education and support to our community to help promote healthy living and reduce the risk of stroke.