What are the warning signs?
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. One of every 18 deaths can be attributed to stroke, while many more lose their mobility, memory,speech or sight. With the actual number of stroke deaths having declined 13.5 percent over the last decade, the question of how to enhance the quality of life for those who survive takes on increasing importance.
Stroke affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When this happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, and starts to die. This can result in paralysis, vision loss, memory loss, speech and language problems, and behavioral changes on others for the simplest of things – eating, dressing, grooming, walking. As a result, Parkinson’s disease often affects the entire family.
Stroke tends to affect older people, but it can strike people of any age. While risk factors such as increasing age and family history cannot be changed, people can lower the likelihood of a stroke by
maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Those factors that can be controlled include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, excessive alcohol intake, and illegal drug use.
The acronym F.A.S.T is a good way for people to remember the signs and symptoms of stroke since, with stroke, every minute counts. This stands for: