May is National Stroke Awareness Month
Written by: Mark and Carol Fairall (Stroke Survivors)

National Stroke Awareness Month began in May 1989 after President George H. W. Bush signed the Presidential Proclamation 5975. National Stroke Awareness Month. The stroke awareness proclamation aims to increase the public awareness about the warning signs of stroke, symptoms of a stroke, stroke prevention, and the impact of stroke on survivors, families and caregivers.

Important Stroke Facts for Americans:
1. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 140,000 people die each year from stroke in the United States.
2. Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.
3. Each year, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks.
4. Over four million Americans are living with the effects of a stroke.
5. Strokes can and do occur at ANY age. Nearly one fifth of strokes occur in people under the age of 55.
6. On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.
7. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke.
8. Over 100 babies born with sickle cell disease have a stroke.
9. Eleven Stroke Belt States have a 10% higher death rate than the U.S. average, they are: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
10. Act F.A.S.T. – Observe Face, Arms, Speech, and Time – You only have a three-hour window before a stroke causes permanent brain damage.

Strokes are also a world problem. Over 15 million people have strokes all over the world and 5 million people die every year because of a stroke. Every two seconds someone in the world has a stroke. One person dies every six seconds in the world from a stroke. Strokes kill more people each year in the world than AIDS, TB, and Malaria put together.

There are three types of strokes, they are: Ischemic Stroke, Hemorrhagic Stroke, and Transient Ischemic Stroke (TIA). An Ischemic Stroke represents 80% of all strokes and is caused by a blood clot that blocks the blood flow to the brain. A Hemorrhagic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures within the brain. A TIA is a transient ischemic attack or a “mini-stroke.” A TIA is temporary but it should not be ignored. It is a blood clot that passes through the brain. One in twelve mini-stroke sufferers have a major stroke within one week.

Strokes can lead to full brain cell destruction and death. Some stroke symptoms are:
1. Blindness,
2. Speech Difficulty,
3. Dizziness and Vertigo,
4. Weakness of face, arms, and legs and,
5. Confusion.

One-fifth of the strokes happens to people under 55. One of seven strokes in young adults are misdiagnosed (Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases study). Many young adults end up with life-long disabilities. It may take years to even partially recover from a stroke. Also, a young person who has suffered a stroke has a higher mortality rate. According to the Misdiagnosis Study, you have only three hours to stop permanent brain damage from a stroke. Most of the hospital misdiagnoses occurs in hospitals that are not primary stroke centers.

Stress can cause strokes. The American College of Cardiology’s new research shows that increase activity in the brain’s stress centers leads to inflammation causing heart attacks and strokes. Stress also stimulates bone marrow to release cells which may cause body inflammation. Prolonged stress may also lead to anxiety and depression. The doctors stated to overcome stress the following steps should be taken:
1. Be quite 30 minutes a day.
2. Engage in physical activity 30 minutes a day.
3. Spend time with nature on the beach or in the mountains.
4. Have activities that nourish your body, mind, and soul.
5. Put yourself first and serve others.
6. Seek balance by slowing down, meditating, and praying
7. Eat a healthy diet.
8. Use credible natural remedies to improve your body and mind.

The misuse of antidepressants can cause anxiety, constipation, suicide thoughts, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction.

Dr. Zach is the Honor Health John C. Lincoln Medical Center’s Vascular Neurologist. His ARIZONA REPUBLIC newspaper article on 05/06/2016 stated that nine out of ten Americans don’t think strokes are a major health problem. Dr. Zach states: “Timing is everything.” The stroke victim loses two million brain cells every minute delayed in getting treatment for a stroke. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable before it occurs.

Strokes can happen to dogs and cats for the same reasons as people but also for: exposure to poisons, internal parasites, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (caused by ticks). It is important to take your pet to a veterinary specialist that can perform a MRI and CT scan. Once a pet has a stroke they need continuous monitoring during recovery which could take several months. Pet’s brains are different from humans and the part that controls voluntary movement is located in a different area. Strokes usually don’t cause permanent paralysis like it can do in humans. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment the best chance the pets have for a full recovery.

Eating healthy can help prevent strokes. CNN reported on 4/26/2016 that 15,000 people in 39 countries participated in this study. The results were that one third of the people did not have heart attacks and strokes because they ate a healthy Mediterranean diet. This included salmon, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and had a glass of wine. To live longer avoid fried foods, processed foods, and sugary foods.

According to the National Stroke Association:
10% of stroke survivors recover almost completely,
25% recover with minor impairments,
40% recover with moderate to severe impairments,
10% require nursing home care, and
15% die shortly after their stroke.

About 14% of stroke survivors have a second stroke within a year after their first stroke.

Successful rehabilitation depends on:
1. Amount of brain damage,
2. Quality and speed of Rehabilitation team, and
3. The degree of cooperation and caring by family members.

Please share this important Stroke Information in order to prevent strokes and help stroke survivors.

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