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Knowing the Warning Signs of a Stroke Could be the Best Prevention

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Stroke is our nation's #3 killer and our best defense is to recognize the warning signs. It is possible to decrease your chances of having a stroke through education and a healthy lifestyle. Your brain needs blood, oxygen, and nutrients to function. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that feeds the brain these vital elements becomes clogged or bursts. That part of the brain is damaged and will not work, along with the part of the body it controls. Transient ischemic attacks, or TIA’s occur before the onset of a major stroke. They are considered to be a ‘warning stroke’. TIA’s happen when a blood clot clogs an artery for a short time. The signs of a stroke and TIA are similar; the difference is TIA’s usually last only a few minutes.

What are the warning signs of stroke or TIA? You may have some or all of these symptoms:

  • Unable to feel one side of the face or body

  • Sudden weakness in an arm, hand, or leg

  • Confusion

  • Trouble speaking

  • Dizziness or loss of balance

  • Sudden onset of a terribly painful headache

  • Unable to see out of one eye or double vision

If we as caregivers recognize these warning signs and take action quickly, we could save the life of the person we are caring for or prevent a bad stroke.

A healthy lifestyle is important in possible stroke prevention, which means reducing the known factors. Uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease and smoking are major causes of stroke.

High blood pressure can be reduced by:

  • Losing weight if it is necessary

  • Eating a healthy diet low in salt and fat

  • Becoming more active

  • Limiting alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks per day

  • Taking medicine the way it is prescribed by your doctor


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