How to recognize a stroke and how to prevent one

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Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a major cause of long-term disability in adults.

Stroke occurs due to sudden blockage of blood flow to the brain and causes sudden neurological deficits. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes are leading causes of stroke.

If someone has stroke symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Even a massive stroke is treatable if you act fast.

“Time is brain” is something doctors say when it comes to treating a patient who’s having a stroke. Every second can mean the difference between life and death, total independence or long-term disability.

B.E. F.A.S.T. can help stroke patients get the treatment needed, on time, for a good outcome

B: Balance. Does the person have a sudden loss of balance?
E. Eyes. Has the person lost vision in one or both eyes?
F: Face. Does the person’s face look uneven?
A: Arms. Is one arm weak or numb?
S: Speech. Is the person’s speech slurred? Does the person have trouble speaking or seem confused?
T: Time. If you see these signs in yourself or anyone, call 911 immediately.

Stroke can occur at any age but risk increases with age. Other factors can increase your chances of having a stroke, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and bad eating habits.

Up to 80 percent of strokes may be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle

Here are five ways to help decrease your chances of stroke:

  1. Lower your blood pressure. Left uncontrolled, high blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors and can double or even quadruple your chance for stroke.
  2. Lose excess weight and eat healthy. Obesity increases your chance for stroke. Losing as few as 10 pounds can help decrease your risk.
  3. Quit smoking. Smoking can thicken your blood and increase the amount of plaque build-up in your arteries — two things that can accelerate clot formation.
  4. Exercise more or start exercising. Physical activity can help lower the risk of stroke. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly.

Manage health conditions. Conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol can increase your chance for stroke so it’s important to stay on top of them.

630 Naperville welcomed guest Dr. Hurmina Muqtadar, a stroke Neurologist and System Stroke Medical Director at Edward-Elmhurst Heath Neuroscience.