May is National Stroke Awareness Month
Information on Stroke Awareness Month from Our Old Bridge, NJ, Elder Community
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of disability. However, strokes are also preventable and largely treatable.
For National Stroke Awareness Month in May, our team at Reformed Church Home in Old Bridge, NJ, has compiled information about the causes of strokes and steps you can take to prevent stroke.
What causes a stroke
A stroke can be caused by a range of problems that interrupt or reduce the blood supply to part of your brain. This lack of blood supply deprives the brain of key nutrients and oxygen, causing brain cells to begin dying within minutes. The most common types and causes of strokes include:
- Blocked arteries: Known as an ischemic stroke, this type of stroke happens when the arteries to your brain become narrow or blocked. Sometimes a blood clot forms in an artery supplying blood to your brain. Other times, a blood clot forms elsewhere in your body and is carried through your bloodstream, lodging in an artery supplying blood to your brain. The majority, about 80%, of strokes are ischemic strokes.
- Blood vessel bursts: A stroke caused by the leak or rupture of a blood vessel in your brain is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. These strokes can result from uncontrolled high blood pressure, overtreatment with blood thinners, or weak spots in the walls of your blood vessels. The bleeding can happen either within the brain or between the surface of the brain and skull.
Knowing whether you’re at risk and taking steps to lower your risk of stroke are key to preventing them or catching them early and minimizing their damage. Overall, the best way to prevent a stroke is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow your doctor’s recommendations. Some specific ways you can work to prevent strokes include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can increase your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, all of which are risk factors for stroke.
- Controlling high blood pressure: High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk for stroke. Working with your doctor to lower your blood pressure is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of stroke. You may need to exercise more, eat a healthier diet, or take medication.
- Exercising: Regular exercise is a great way to lower your blood pressure and improve the health of your blood vessels and heart, all of which reduces your risk of stroke. Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Changing your diet: Altering your diet to include more fruits and vegetables and less cholesterol and saturated fat is a great way to control your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of stroke. Foods that can help prevent stroke include Mediterranean diet foods, such as olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Taking certain medications: Your doctor may recommend certain preventive medications to reduce your risk of stroke if you have already had a stroke.
Call today to learn more about stroke prevention!