Covid-19 Public Health Awareness

Stroke Awareness

Prevention is key. It’s important to get or stay healthy by eating right, working out, and not being afraid.

This is a topic that has fascinated me but also scared me. Fascinating because we are resilient people. Scared because as a child, I was with my maternal grandmother when she had her stroke.

Let’s start with the basics. What is a stroke? According to the National Aphasia Association, a stroke is a common condition caused by abnormal brain blood vessels. Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Stroke kills more than 130,000 Americans each year, and many people who survive become temporarily or permanently disabled.

There are two types of strokes; the most common is Ischemic. This type of stroke happens when blood flow through the artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain becomes blocked. The second major type of stroke is called a hemorrhagic stroke. In this type of stroke, an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures and floods the brain tissue with blood. The leaked blood puts too much pressure on brain cells, which damages them. A person can even have a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or “warning stroke,” caused by a temporary blockage. Some people who have had a stroke in the past are at risk of having another stroke. Fortunately, up to 80 percent of second clot-related strokes may be preventable. Depending on where in the brain a person’s stroke occurs will determine what they will have to deal with.

Had a stroke? Work with your doctor to identify the cause and create a plan to prevent another. This may include managing high blood pressure, making healthy lifestyle choices, and taking medications as recommended by your doctor. After an ischemic stroke or TIA, most patients will be prescribed antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy.

Stroke kills brain cells. So, time lost is brain lost. Now that you know the facts, here’s how to spot one. The American Stroke Association has warning signs for FAST:

F – Face Drooping
A – Arm Weakness
S – Speech Difficulty
T – Time to Call 911

I have many people in my life who have been impacted by a stroke. In my grandmother’s case, she used a wheelchair for a short period of time then was back on her feet going to work. The person in my life that I worried the most about is my father. He had a stroke in December of 2019. I wasn’t there when he had his stroke, but I saw the aftermath. He had to learn how to do everything for himself again. He also had aphasia.

Aphasia is a disorder that affects how you communicate. It can impact your speech, as well as the way you write and understand both spoken and written language.

Prevention is key. It’s important to get or stay healthy by eating right, working out, and not being afraid. Knowledge is power.