Stroke remains the leading cause of long term disability, and the fifth leading cause of death in women. Strokes occur every 40 seconds and take a life every four minutes. Consider a stroke like an attack on your brain. During a stroke vital blood flow and oxygen are withheld from the brain, causing brain cells to die. In order to reduce the risk of death and disability, you must act quickly.
“Everyone needs to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke no matter your age,” says Michigan Primary Care Partners provider Tifenie Harris, DNP. “The amount of time it takes for a person to be seen in the Emergency Room after experiencing a stroke is critical to saving brain tissue.” Click here for Tifenie’s Expert Advice on the things you can control when it comes to Stroke prevention, versus those you can’t.
Use F.A.S.T. as your guide.
“While there are certain risk factors that increase your chance of suffering a stroke, prevention remains the best strategy,” says Internal Medicine physician Rashmi Juneja, MD. “While early intervention is available at larger institutions in the form of clot busting drugs, it’s also important to understand your risk for stroke.”
If you are exhibiting any of the following symptoms, it’s time to call 911.
- Droopy Face
- Arm Weakness
- Speech Difficulty
Risk Factors for Stroke:
- Age – risk doubles between 55 and 85 years of age
- Gender – Men are at higher risk of stroke
- Family History of Stroke
- Suffered a previous TIA or Stroke
- Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure or Hypertension.
- Undiagnosed Atrial Fibrillation or Carotid Artery Disease
- High Cholesterol
- Being Overweight
- Drinking Alcohol
If you have any of these risk factors you’ll want to talk with your primary care provider about treating the ones you can’t control, and make lifestyle changes to those you can control. It all starts with an annual wellness exam. Providers use that time to determine your baseline numbers; blood pressure, cholesterol and more. It all goes to help them formulate a plan to keep your health in check.
The CDC also has a great jumping off point in terms of prevention. That paired with visits to your primary care provider are the best ways to help lower your risk for Stroke.
Still looking for a primary care provider for your family? Every member of our care team at Michigan Primary Care Partners is accepting new patients. To schedule your first visit, contact our scheduling team.
For more Stroke related resources, visit the National Stroke Association website