According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every 40 seconds someone across the country suffers a stroke. The population at the greatest risk of stroke is seniors, almost 75 percent of all strokes happen in those over the age of 65. Fortunately, upwards of 80 percent of strokes are preventable.
What Is A Stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood is unable to reach the brain. This is also referred to as a “brain attack” or a cerebrovascular accident (CVA).The brain cells do not get enough oxygen, and start to die off. This is because of a blood vessel bursting or a possible clot. When the crucial nutrients are unable to reach the brain, disability and permanent damage may result.
Common Warning Signs
Knowing how to identify the symptoms and the signs of a stroke can help you save your loved one’s life and may even help prevent strokes. The risk of death or disability is directly correlated to how fast someone receives help or treatment. A few of the common warning signs include:
- A sudden severe headache without any other known cause
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance and coordination. These are possible because of the oxygen deprivation to the brain
- Sudden vision loss or trouble with vision in one or both eyes. Their visual field may black out completely or the person may see double
- Trouble articulating words, sudden confusion, a loss of speech, and difficulty talking
- Sudden weakness or numbness in arms (especially to one side of the body)
Lowering Your Risk for Stroke
Even though there are some factors that you cannot control (such as family history or old age), there are some ways that can help you lower your risk of stroke. In order to help prevent stroke, these are just a few suggestions:
- Limit your alcohol intake and stop smoking
- Manage your cholesterol
- Control your blood pressure (this includes following medication instructions, exercising regularly, and a diet low in saturated fat and sodium).
- Low dose Aspirin therapy
It is important to remember that no one is ever too old to make changes. Even in our later years, a proactive approach to being healthy can drastically reduce the risk of a stroke and increase a senior’s quality of life.