Wednesday, May 15, 2013

National Stroke Awareness Month

By Nurse Diane
I recently found out my blood pressure is seriously high.  The first thing I thought about was I could have a stroke.  I immediately started steps to lower my blood pressure, such as taking blood pressure medication prescribed by my doctor, taking fish oil pills and garlic pills.  The garlic was recommended by a friend of mine who has had high blood pressure for many years, and had kept it under control.   I have been walking nearly every day along with other exercising at the gym, and in general trying to lower my stress.  Watching what you eat is also important.  I have been eating oatmeal regularly as it is known to lower cholesterol, and I have almonds and walnuts on hand to munch on.  Im trying to drink more liquids, and I never add salt when cooking, only to flavor after food is cooked if needed.

A Stroke is when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain.  This causes brain cells to die, or be damaged. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.  Some people recover completely, and around 2/3 will have some sort of disability.  Strokes can be treated with a drug called Activase if given within the first 3 hours.  This drug will work to quickly dissolve the clot so that minimal damage is done.

To determine if someone has had a stroke, look for these symptoms:
  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body;
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination;
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.

An easy way to remember things to check for if a stroke has occurred is the work FAST
F: Face -is there any drooping or change to one side of the facial expression
A:  Arms - are they able to raise their arms over their head
S:  Speech - Are they able to speak and answer simple questions
T: Time - check the time that the stroke occurred, and call 911 immediately to get the necessary medications to break up the clot.

Strokes can occur at any time, to any one.  Be aware of the symptoms, and how to get the necessary help.  For more information, visit this site:
(All images from Google) 

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