Knowing signs of stroke could make difference in life, death, recovery

Stroke is one of the leading cause of death in the U.S., with someone suffering from one every 40 seconds on average.

About 795,000 people in America have a new or recurrent stroke each year, while about 142,000 die of a stroke each year.

In fact, in 2016, stroke was found to be the cause of one in every 19 deaths in the U.S.

When it doesn’t lead to death, it can create long-term impacts on someone. It was the leading cause of seriously disability in 2005.

Experts cite lifestyle habits such as physical inactivity, poor nutrition, being overweight or obese, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure as the key factors that increase the risk for stroke.

While 74% of stroke cases are due to behavioral risks — those habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity, nearly 90% are due to modifiable risk factors, which people can take measure to change.

So how do you do that? There are several ways to be proactive in stroke prevention, including:

  • Work with doctors to evaluate if there could be some underlying disease. This is especially valid if you’ve had a close family member who had clots or a stroke.
  • Engage in exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as foods that are low in saturated fat.
  • Avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking.
  • Be proactive in recognizing and controlling diabetes.

And even though you can take all the measures in the world to prevent a stroke from happening, that still doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Because of that, it’s of utmost important to know the symptoms of a stroke — FAST:

  • Face: Watch for signs in the face, such as a drooping or uneven smile.
  • Arm: Numbness or weakness in the arm.
  • Speech: Slurred speech.
  • Time: If you believe someone may be experiencing stroke symptoms, you must act fast.

The faster the patient gets help, the more likely they are to live and have a greater chance of recovering without suffering major disabilities.