Have you or someone you know been affected by a stroke? Chances are, you have. Strokes are the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States and African-American men have the highest risk of suffering a stroke compared to any other population group. In fact, African-Americans have nearly double the rate of deadly strokes compared to Caucasian males and double the rate of first strokes.
Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented. That’s why it’s important to know the warning signs of strokes, the common causes, and ways to prevent them.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a disease that affects the arteries in the brain and can also be known as a “brain attack.” When the arteries cut off blood flow to an area, brain cells do not receive oxygen and begin to die. People can suffer major or minor strokes, which can affect muscle control and memory but both types are considered medical emergencies and should be treated as soon as possible.
Warning Signs of a Stroke
According to the American Stroke Association, warning signs of strokes include:
- Face drooping
- Sudden numbness
- Confusion (understanding speech or talking)
- Trouble walking
- One-sided arm or leg weakness
- Slurred speech
- Double vision or other vision problems
Causes of Stroke
There are several risk factors of stroke including:
- Drinking alcohol in excess
- Poor diet (high in trans fats, saturated fat, and cholesterol)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Sickle cell anemia
African-American men may have a higher risk because they tend to have higher rates of hypertension, obesity, sickle cell anemia and diabetes.
Although you cannot completely prevent a stroke, you can lower your risk of this potentially deadly condition by:
If you think someone is having a stroke, it is important to remember the acronym FAST.
FAST is an easy way to recognize the most common signs and symptoms of a stroke.
F— Face. Make sure the person’s face is not drooping.
A— Arms. Make sure one arm is not weak or numb.
S— Speech. Make sure speech is not slurred and they are able to speak.
T— Time to call 9-1-1. If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away!
Access Community Health Network
If you think you or a loved one is at risk of suffering a stroke, ACCESS can help. Our medical professionals offer management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and have programs that can help you overcome unhealthy behaviors such as smoking or substance abuse. Find your local ACCESS health center and schedule an appointment today.