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Education, lifestyle can help prevent strokes

Disorder can be prevented or mitigated in many cases with proper precautions

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Strokes strike more than 7 million adults in the United States each year.

This month, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association encourage Colorado residents to work to end the fifth-leading cause of death in this country.

American Stroke Month is intended to highlight one of the leading causes of serious, long-term disability that is largely preventable and treatable.

Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. Nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, according to recent AHA/ASA Hypertension Guidelines, which redefines high blood pressure as 130/88 mm Hg.

Eating healthfully, being active and, for some stroke survivors, following an aspirin regimen can help prevent another stroke, according to a news release from the American Stroke Association.

Education is also key when it comes to treating stroke.

Immediate medical care is crucial to access life-saving treatment in many cases.

The American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, sponsored nationally by Medtronic, teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people to recognize the most common stroke warning signs and what to do if one occurs:

F: Face Drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

A: Arm Weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S: Speech Difficulty. Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T: Time to call 911. If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Stroke facts:

• About 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke every year, with about three in four being first-time strokes.

• Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes, someone dies of stroke.

• Stroke is the number five cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 140,000 people in 2015. That’s one in every 20 deaths.

• Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and the leading preventable cause of disability. Stroke, or vascular dementia, is also a leading cause of memory loss.

• 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

• What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. The American Heart Association recommends following “Life’s Simple 7” to achieve ideal health: don’t smoke, be physically active, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy body weight, and control cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

For more information about stroke or American Stroke Month, follow #StrokeMonth on social media or visit StrokeAssociation.org/strokemonth.

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