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Strokes Facts: What You Need To Know

"Stroke is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, but a lack of awareness and resources hinder efforts to change that, the American Stroke Association says".

"We must aggressively continue our efforts to reduce stroke, especially in multicultural communities, and to reach people at younger ages," said Dr. Mitchell Elkind, a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City and chair of the American Stroke Association".

"To mark American Stroke Month in May, the stroke association details a number of facts about stroke".

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BWV Comment

Strokes are in my family DNA particularly on the Barber side so I am naturally interested in ways to prevent or head-off debilitating strokes. One of the leading causes of strokes is high blood pressure so make sure you have annual physicals in case this silent killer sneaks up on you as it did me.

During my required physical to sign-up for medicare, I learned that I had high blood pressure, but I had no symptoms - was a runner/jogger and worked out with weights. I actually felt very good.  Since that time my physicians have had a difficult time prescribing the right blood pressure meds to keep my BP at normal levels - 120/80 and below. My cardiologist even had me taking the wrong combinations of meds as well as the wrong doses so I was having BP spikes. Finally, he recommended that I see a BP specialist. He has me on different meds that have brought my BP back down to more normal levels.

Three years ago this coming July, I had open-heart surgery to repair an aneurysm of the ascending aorta caused by high blood pressure. The aneurysm had become dangerously enlarged and could have ruptured, which would have caused instant death. It takes a while to recover from open-heart surgery, but I feel great today and back jogging 4 miles non-stop. Of course, I was blessed to have one of the top cardio-surgeons in Dallas perform the procedure.

Recently, my first cousin's husband had a stroke caused by taking a blood thinner for A-Fib.  He also has high blood pressure. He was fortunate to have the stroke on the right side of the brain which paralyzed his left side - arm and leg.  A stroke on the left side affects not only the use of the right arm and leg but also speech. If you remember actor Kirk Douglas had a stroke on the left side of his brain which affected his speech. My paternal grandfather had the same kind of stroke and never regained his ability to talk.

Strokes can be prevented by proper diet, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and taking BP meds if you have high BP.

Please read this article and if you suspect you may have BP issues, see you doctor immediately.  Strokes are nothing to take lightly.