Stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it starts to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. These abilities include speech, movement and memory. How a person is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.
||Signs and Symptoms
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the 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 or loss of balance
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
The National Stroke Association educates the public to recognize stroke symptoms and to Act F.A.S.T.
Face - Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arm - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech - Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
Time - If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call 9-1-1.
||What Can You Do?
- Know your blood pressure; work with your health care provider to get it within the guidelines
- Be active with exercise 30 minutes per day
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation
- Take all medication as ordered by your health care provider
- Eat a healthy diet low in salt and fat
- Decrease the stress in your life
- Find out if you have high cholesterol; work with your health care provider to get it within the guidelines
- Know the symptoms of stroke
The use of tobacco in any form is a great health concern. Even if you don't smoke, reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke. If you use tobacco products, prepare yourself to quit as soon as possible.
- Set a date to stop and mark it on your calendar. Twenty-four hours before the start date make everyone aware of your goal to stop.
- Remove the smell of tobacco by cleaning your house and car. Remember to get rid of lighters, ashtrays and matches.
- You can use over-the-counter aids such as nicotine patches and gum. Contact your health insurance provider to see if Nicotine replacement therapy is a covered service.
- Know what your triggers are that make you want to use tobacco products and be prepared with chewing gum, celery or carrot sticks.
- Kentucky has a free Quit Now program that helps you quit using tobacco products. You can contact the Quit Now program at (800) 784-8669.