Stroke Prevention Is Concern for EveryoneWednesday, May 20, 2015
Stroke awareness is prominent this month, and a new survey reveals more than half of Americans fear the damage associated with a stroke.
Dr. Stephen Timms, a board-certified neurologist at OVMC with more than 24 years of experience in medicine, explains that a survey from the National Stroke Association reveals that among brain, heart or lung damage, 66 percent of Americans fear brain damage the most.
A stroke happens when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. A stroke can cause a person to permanently loose speech, movement and memory.
“This new study shows the need for greater awareness for the everyday steps people can take to help prevent a stroke.” said Timms. “The most important step is for patients to know their risk factors and take measures to prevent a stroke from happening to them or their loved ones.”
Timms explains that 80 percent of strokes are preventable by controlling modifiable risk factors. Among the top prevention guidelines are to monitor blood pressure, to avoid smoking, and to identify the presence of atrial fibrillation, a specific heart condition. People are also encouraged to control their weight through diet and exercise as well as limit alcohol consumption to two drinks per week. Lastly, patients with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and circulation problems, are at an increased risk for stroke so they should speak with their physician about how to control these conditions to aid in stroke prevention.
“Education about stroke warning signs is key to saving lives,” said Timms. “People should call 911 at the first sign of a stroke.”
The four warning signs of a stroke are summarized in the acronym “FAST.” These warning signs are:
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does a side of their mouth droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information about stroke, visit the National Stroke Association's web site at www.stroke.org.
Ohio Valley Medical Center, located in Wheeling, W. Va., and East Ohio Regional Hospital, located in Martins Ferry, Ohio, are a 340-bed combined organization with more than 1,600 employees providing the area’s only comprehensive orthopedic centers of excellence, behavioral and mental health services and board certified emergency services on both sides of the Ohio River.