How to spot someone suffering a stroke

Will you be one of the 750,000 individuals in America this year who experience a stroke? This is a potentially deadly condition that occurs when one of the blood vessels feeding the brain with oxygen-rich blood either bursts or gets blocked, causing a temporary disruption of life-giving blood-flow to the brain.

Because 9 out of 10 individuals feel no warning signal prior to having a stroke, it’s extremely important to understand how to detect the risk of a stroke based on specific factors outlined by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

Your age is a determining factor for increasing your risk of having a stroke. Although a stroke can occur in an individual of any age, it is more likely to happen to men and women who are 55 years of age and older, with the risk of stroke occurrence doubling for every 10 years of life past 55. Gender also plays a role in having a greater risk of stroke.

Men are much more likely to undergo a stroke than women, although women have a higher risk of having the stroke prove fatal. Women under the age of 55 who take birth control pills or are pregnant also greatly increase their risk of having a stroke.

Research has proven that the race of an individual can heighten their risk of stroke. African-Americans, who as a race experience higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, tend to have a higher risk of stroke than Caucasians.

Heredity plays a major factor in detecting your risk of having a stroke. If a grandparent, parent or sibling has already suffered a stroke, your stroke risk is that much greater. Certain genetic disorders experienced within families also increase the likelihood that one or more family members will experience a stroke at some point in their lives.

Individuals who have already experienced a stroke are at greater risk of having a second stroke. Men and women who have had a heart attack are also at greater risk of experiencing a stroke, as are individuals who have experienced a condition called Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA). TIAs, often referred to as “mini-strokes” that can last no more than a minute in length, produce stroke-like symptoms but have no lasting damage, but are an indicator that the individual is as much as 10x more likely to experience a stroke after having one of these warning episodes.

Once you have determined you have one or more factors detecting a higher risk of stroke in your lifestyle, it can save your life if you proactively take steps to lower your risk. These steps include getting high blood pressure under control and quitting smoking. Get prompt medical attention to deal with any diseases related to the heart or arteries.

Have a daily exercise regimen and stick with it. Include as much fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet to help avoid obesity and the high cholesterol levels that accompany being overweight and help increase your risk of suffering a stroke. Learn the FAST method of recognizing stroke symptoms, including a drooping face (F), weakness in the arms (A) and slurred speech (S), all signs that now is the time (T) you need to call immediately for emergency medical attention.

Michael Smith is a keen health blogger and is passionate about providing information and advice to people about strokes and how to identify and cope with strokes.

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