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Taking steps to prevent a stroke

Taking steps to prevent a stroke

It can happen to anyone at any time. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a sudden shut down of blood flow to the brain known as a stroke. When the blood is unable to reach a part of the brain, the brain cells begin to die affecting different functions from memory to muscle control. Strokes are the leading cause of adult disability in the United States, but the National Stroke Association maintains that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented with changes in lifestyle and careful monitoring of health conditions.

Here are some of the factors that can increase your risk of stroke.

Lifestyle risks

  • Smoking: Smoking is a major stroke risk factor. The nicotine and carbon monoxide present in cigarette smoke can damage the cardiovascular system, increasing the chance of suffering a stroke. To reduce the risk, take steps to stop smoking.
  • Diet: A diet high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol can raise your cholesterol level in your blood and increase the risk of having a stroke. Foods high in sodium can increase your blood pressure and also contribute to stroke risk. Switching to a healthier diet containing more fruits and vegetables can get you started on reducing your stroke risk.
  • Activity: A sedentary lifestyle can put you at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetesand several other dangerous health issues including stroke. Start moving and progress toward getting at least 30 minutes of activity every day to address this stroke factor.
  • Weight: Obesity has also been linked to increased stroke risk. Losing weight is not easy but losing as little as five pounds can help reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Medical risks

  • Blood pressure: High blood pressure is a leading cause of strokes yet is it probably one of the most controllable factors. Do not ignore high blood pressure. Take your medications and follow the doctor’s directions to control high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes can contribute to stroke risk. Diabetes is treatable and it is important to take steps to keep it controlled along with blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels.
  • Cholesterol: High amounts of cholesterol in the blood can build up and form blood clots. When these clots get lodged in the brain, a stroke occurs. Make the needed dietary changes and take the proper medications to get high cholesterol under control to reduce stroke risk.
  • Arterial disease: When there is a build-up of plaque causing a narrowing of the arteries in the neck or in the arms and legs, the risk of stroke is raised. It’s important to take steps to control artery disease to reduce risk.
  • Heart issues: If you have coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation (a fluttering or irregular heartbeat) or heart failure, the risk of also having a stroke is increased. To lower your risk, take the medications and suggested lifestyle changes to control heart conditions.

When a stroke occurs
The key to limiting the negative effects of a stroke is to get the quickest treatment possible. The National Stroke Association uses the word FAST as a reminder of the stroke symptoms. “F” refers to a drooping of a part or all of the facial features. “A” refers to a weakness in one or both arms. “S” refers to speech difficulties from slurred speech to being unable to respond. “T” stands for time. If someone displays all or some of these symptoms, even for a short time, it is important to call 9-1-1 or take the person to the hospital quickly. Other symptoms of a stroke may include sudden confusion, trouble seeing, numbness on one side of the body, dizziness or a sudden severe headache.

After a stroke
Finding compassionate and effective care following a stroke is imperative. Whitehall of Deerfield has been a leader in offering highly effective rehabilitation services following a stroke and has been accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the nation’s most respected health care accrediting group. It has also earned the “National Quality Approval Seal” for offering top quality care and been awarded Medicare’s highest five star rating for its nursing and rehabilitation services and outcomes.

Whitehall of Deerfield offers comprehensive stroke care, featuring one-on-one physical, occupational and speech therapies offered seven days a week. Special services such as on-site swallow studies also provide expert post-stroke care that meets each patient’s needs.

This top-notch care is offered in an upscale environment with elegant rooms with world-class amenities such as daily delivery of coffee and newspaper to guest rooms, concierge service, valet parking for visitors, a complementary ice cream parlor, an array of culinary delights, dozens of cable channels and an exclusive channel featuring new movies and much more.

To learn more or schedule a tour, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune

300 Waukegan Road Deerfield, IL 60015 | 847.945.4600