You might think of a stroke as something that can’t happen until you get older, but that’s just not true. There are a lot of factors that put you at a higher risk of suffering from a stroke. But you don’t have to settle for that; stroke prevention is possible if you know how.
At the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute, our professionals are experts in heart and vascular care, which includes stroke prevention. Vascular specialist Hesham Fakhri, MD, helps you determine your risk of a stroke and gives you the tools you need to prevent one from happening.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a condition in your brain that happens when one or more of the important arteries are blocked or they rupture. Because these vessels carry oxygen to your brain, your brain cells are cut off from important nutrients if they’re blocked, so they die.
This condition is severe and life-threatening and is the No. 5 cause of death in the United States. There are actually several different types of strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when one of the vessels going into your brain is blocked.
Another type of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke. This happens when one of the major blood vessels leading to your brain ruptures or bursts, which causes a loss of blood to your brain.
There’s also something known as a transient ischemic attack. This is not a full blown stroke and is sometimes known as a mini stroke. It’s caused by a clot in your vessels that temporarily blocks blood flow and oxygen to your brain.
Telltale signs of a stroke
Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke can save your or someone else’s life. Every minute counts when it comes to a stroke, so become familiar with the following telltale signs:
- Sudden onset of a headache
- Trouble speaking
- Numbness in your face or arm
- Weakness on one side of your body
- Trouble walking
If you’re suffering from a stroke, you may also have trouble seeing or lose coordination. Speech is usually slurred, and you might notice one side of your mouth drooping. These symptoms usually come on very quickly because of the sudden loss of oxygen to your brain.
If you or someone you know is experiencing the above symptoms, quick recognition and treatment is vital to preserving your brain function. The faster you get to a hospital, the better the outcome could be.
What you can do to prevent a stroke
Although not all strokes are preventable, there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk of suffering a stroke. The very best way to prevent a stroke is to live an active and healthy lifestyle. This includes steps such as:
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Lowering your blood pressure if it’s high
You should also keep your blood sugar normal if you’re a diabetic. High blood glucose makes your body work harder, which can increase your chances of a stroke. That goes hand-in-hand with keeping your blood pressure in check, too.
If you’re overweight or obese, your risk of a stroke is much higher than someone of a healthy weight. Losing weight helps to keep your body functioning normally, which prevents conditions like a stroke.
If you want to learn more about stroke prevention and staying healthy, contact one of our conveniently located offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, to make an appointment.