To Live Well – Let’s Talk About Stroke

29 May
Stroke Diagram

Stroke Diagram (Photo credit: ConstructionDealMkting)

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada.  Of those who do not die from it, many are left with serious disabilities both physical and cognitive.

A stroke happens when blood is not able to circulate to the brain.  It may be caused by a blood clot or uncontrolled bleeding into the brain.  If blood flow is not restored quickly the brain damage will be permanent.

There are a number of risk factors associated with stroke.  The risk factors that are beyond your control include age, gender, family history, and ethnicity.  The good news is that there are also controllable risk factors.  This is where your decision to live well can make a difference.

Risk factors that you can do something about include:

High blood pressure

High blood cholesterol

Heart disease

Diabetes

Being overweight

Excessive alcohol consumption

Physical Inactivity

Smoking

Stress

You might be thinking – Yikes, that’s a pretty big list!  The reality is that many of these factors are interrelated.  This means that making a few positive health decisions can have a positive effect on several risk factors.

Think about it.  High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and being overweight can all be positively impacted just by watching what and how much you eat, and by being more physically active – oh ya, that scratches inactivity off the list too.

Being physically active will also help you to manage your stress.  Cutting back on the amount of alcohol you drink will also help you maintain a healthy weight.

That just leaves smoking.  If you don’t smoke, it’s as easy as just deciding not to smoke.  If you do smoke – Quit.  Ok, I know it can be hard.  Get help, ask your doctor.  There are medications out there that may help.  Men who smoke have a 40 percent greater chance of having a stroke than those who do not smoke. Women who smoke have a 60 percent greater chance of having a stroke compared to non-smoking women.

That list of 9 risk factors just got whittled down to 4 Living Well decisions!  If making 4 changes still seems like too much all at once – pick one thing to work on.  Pick the easy one first, that way you will feel encouraged by your own success.  Once you’ve mastered one positive change, move on to the next one.

A recent meta analysis indicates that moderate coffee consumption may reduce stroke risk.  Yay for me and all my coffee loving friends out there!  Read more

How will I recognize a stroke if it happens?

Signs of a possible stroke include:

weakness, trouble speaking, vision problems, headaches, dizziness.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these things, it could be a stroke.  It is important to call 911 or you local emergency number rather than drive to the hospital.  If the ambulance takes you to the hospital, the emergency personnel can assess your condition, start important treatments right away, and choose the best hospital to take you to.  Not all hospitals specialize in stroke treatment.

Read more from the Heart & Stroke foundation of Manitoba

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One Response to “To Live Well – Let’s Talk About Stroke”

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  1. Questions You Have About Diet For Diabetes Type 2 Sample Diets | - May 30, 2012

    […] strokeLiving With Kind two Diabetes – Signs And RemedyMay is National Stroke Awareness MonthTo Live Well – Let’s Talk About Stroke // initialise plugins jQuery(function(){ // main navigation init […]

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