Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Brain Attack!

May is Stroke Awareness Month!

      Did you know that a stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack"? It occurs when blood flow to an area in your brain is cut off.  When this happens, brain cells are deprived of the oxygen and glucose needed to survive, and die. If a stroke is not caught early, permanent brain damage or even death can result. Stroke is the #5 cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the USA.

     Treatment targets factors that put you at risk, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.  Still, it takes more than that to prevent a stroke. You also have an important role to play in preventing stroke, too! Why? Because only you can make lifestyle changes to help lower your risk.

      So, what are some things you can do? Try to follow the Life's Simple 7 tips from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association:

1) Manage and control blood pressure: Lowering your systolic blood pressure (bp) number (top) by 10 or your diastolic number (bottom) by 5 can cut your risk of stroke death by half

2) Control cholesterol: By controlling your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries a chance to remain clear of blockages

3) Reduce blood sugar: High levels of blood sugar over time can lead to diabetes, which increases your risk for having a stroke

4) Get active! Increase walking time has been associated with reduced stroke risk. 30 minutes a day, 5xs a week is an easy goal to improve your heart and brain health, plus it helps to prevent stroke

5) Eat better: A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting stroke! Adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet, and reducing sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg per day is a great start towards healthier eating

6) Lose weight: Nearly 70% of American adults are overweight or obese! Obesity increases your risk for stroke so losing weight can help lower your blood pressure and reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and bones

7) Stop smoking: If you smoke, your risk for stroke is 2-4xs higher  than for nonsmokers or even those who have quit for more than 10 years!

See how much you know about stroke by taking our Medical Library's health literacy quiz, now available in both English and Spanish versions:

It is important to know the common symptoms of stroke so you recognize what may be happening to yourself,  your loved ones or others.

If you are located in N.J. and your community or organization would like to learn more about stroke, please contact:
Terry Finamore RN BSN MS
Stroke Coordinator

Trinitas Regional Medical Center
Elizabeth, N.J.
908 994 8787 (phone)

Many thanks to Terry Finamore who helped with this post.