Thursday, May 15, 2014

American Stroke Month

A stroke happens when part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs and starts to die.  This is due to a blocked or ruptured blood vessel leading to or in the brain.  Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in Maine and is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in Maine and the U.S. 

What can you do to prevent a stroke?

You cannot control risk factors like age and family history.  Here are steps you can take for the risk factors you can control:
  • Know Your ABCS:
    • Ask your doctor if you should take Aspirin every day.
    • Find out if you have high Blood Pressure or Cholesterol.  If you do, work with your doctor to treat it.
    • If you Smoke, get help to quit.  Call the Maine Tobacco Help Line at 1-800-207-1230.
  • Be physically active at least 30 minutes on most days
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Be sure other foods are low in sodium and trans fat
  • Take medication as prescribed by your doctor
What are the warning signs of stroke?

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke:

Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is numb?  Ask the person to smile.  Is the smile uneven?
Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb?  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred?  Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand?  Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.  Is it repeated correctly?
Time to Call 9-1-1: If someone shows any of these signs, even if the signs go away, call 9-1-1.  Check the time so you will know when the first signs appeared.

Other warning signs of stroke include blurred vision, dizziness or loss of balance, and severe headache.

Million Hearts Initiative

Million Hearts® is a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Million Hearts® brings together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke.  To learn more about the initiative or to make the commitment visit:www.millionhearts.hhs.gov
  
For more information about heart disease visit:http://mainehearthealth.org/

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