May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a time to focus on preventing and recognizing the signs of stroke. Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, but it is also largely preventable. By understanding the risk factors for stroke and knowing the signs and symptoms, we can take steps to reduce our risk and get help quickly if we or someone we know is experiencing a stroke.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, either due to a clot blocking a blood vessel or a blood vessel bursting. This can cause brain cells to die, leading to permanent brain damage or even death. Common risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and obesity.
Symptoms of Stroke
It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke and seek medical attention immediately if they occur. Some common symptoms of stroke include:
Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention right away.
While some risk factors for stroke are beyond our control, such as age and family history, there are many lifestyle factors we can modify to reduce our risk. Here are some tips for preventing stroke:
Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly
Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
Limit alcohol consumption
Manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes
Take medications as prescribed by your doctor
Know your family history of stroke and discuss with your doctor
Get regular check-ups with your healthcare provider
At South Macomb Internal Medicine, our team of healthcare professionals can help you identify your risk factors for stroke and develop a plan to reduce your risk. If you have concerns about your risk for stroke, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Remember, recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke and seeking medical attention immediately can make all the difference in preventing long-term damage or even death. Take steps today to protect your brain and reduce your risk of stroke.