February is National Stroke Awareness month & Senior Living Experts wants to help you learn more about stroke prevention.
5 Stroke Myths
Understanding a Stroke
- A Stroke is a Heart Condition – Not true!
A stroke is a HEALTH condition in which the brain doesn’t receive enough blood & oxygen. The stroke is a “brain attack” and not a heart attack. However, the cause of a stroke can be associated with a heart condition that prevents the blood & oxygen from getting to the brain.
- There’s One Type of Stroke – Not True!
There are 3 basic types of stroke; a hemorrhagic stroke, a TIA, & an ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes account for 87% of all strokes and can occur in 2 ways; via embolic stroke or a thrombotic stroke.
- People Don’t Die from Strokes – Not True!
Strokes are the 5th leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Stroke Association, every 4 minutes someone dies from a stroke.
- Most People Recover From a Stroke – Not Always True!
Strokes are the leading cause of disability for American adults. Some people may recover; however more than 2/3 of those who have a stroke will have some type of disability from the stroke.
- There’s Nothing You Can Do If You’re Meant to Have a Stroke – Absolutely Not True!
Up to 80% of strokes can actually be prevented. You can reduce your risk of having a stroke by adjusting your lifestyle, eating a healthier diet, and taking proactive health care actions.
According to the CDC these statistics about strokes in the United States explain why awareness needs to be brought to light.
- Each year, 1 in 20 deaths in the United States are a result of a stroke
- Strokes cost the United States approximately $34 billion a year (medical costs, lost wages, etc.)
- African Americans & Native Alaskans are more likely to die from a stroke than any other race
- Stroke risk increases with age
- There are 795,000 Americans who suffer from strokes each year
- 77% of strokes that occur each year in the U.S. are first time strokes
It is estimated that up to 80% of strokes could be prevented. Here are just a few ways you can reduce your risk for a stroke.
- Know the Signs – It’s important to know the signs & symptoms of a stroke. The National Stroke Association offers a list of stroke signs & symptoms here.
- Diet is Important – Following a heart healthy and/or brain healthy diet is one way to help prevent a stroke. We recently highlighted the Mediterranean diet as one of the best diets to follow for both heart & brain health. The Cleveland Clinic offers these guidelines to follow for a healthy diet.
- Limit Salt, Sugar & Unhealthy Fats – Because high blood pressure, diabetes, and bad cholesterol levels can all add to increased risk of a stroke it’s important to limit certain foods. These foods are all associated with an increased risk of a number of diseases associated with an unhealthy lifestyle.
- Get Active – Exercise, at any age, is important. The best type of exercise for stroke prevention includes resistance training & aerobic exercise. Many senior living facilities & caregivers can help you safely incorporate exercise into your daily routine. This guide from the National Institute on Aging can help guide you.
We’re hoping that bringing awareness to National Stroke Prevention Month allows you to take charge of your life as you age.