You’re waking up from a great night out with family or friends. Food, drinks, dancing, and most importantly, laughter were the menu of the evening. You stretch as you rise and think to yourself, “didn’t Bill tell some funny stories at the dinner table…” Suddenly, things get a little fuzzy, wobbly, out of focus. Your head is pounding. You reach out for the wall to steady yourself, but your legs feel weak, your face numb and tingly. You want to call out for help, but the words won’t come. Panic sets in, and the harder you try, the more difficult the simplest tasks become.
Just then, someone nearby hears a noise and comes to check and see if you are feeling the after-effects of all that dancing when they see you and know something is terribly wrong…
If you’re lucky, you won’t be one of the nearly 800,000 people in the United States that suffers a stroke every year. You won’t be one of those that has a stroke in the U.S. about every 40 seconds. If you did experience one, you’ll be lucky if your stroke is not one of the approximately 87% that blocks blood flow to the brain, often causing permanent damage or disability.
Does the scenario just described or the stroke statistics sound like something out of a scary movie? It may be the season for it, but these frightening figures and effects of a stroke are real. Very, very real.
Not including the current pandemic, strokes are the fourth leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and are a major contributor to disability. However, we are a rugged bunch, an independent, pull yourself up by the bootstraps kind of folks, so we often discount symptoms (like mini-strokes, which are a temporary lack of blood to the brain). And though all indications point to a stroke, we often won’t head for the nearest treatment facility. However, that poor decision could very well change the course of your life.
There Is A Way
So, now that we’ve covered some terrifying information and possibilities, let’s talk about how we can reduce the chance for a stroke while at the same time improving our quality of life. After all, any age is much too young to have a stroke.
Walking. A walk – pace quickened a little, will do wonders for reducing the chances for a stroke by reducing body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. Leading health organizations recommend about 30 minutes of light to vigorous aerobic exercise a day for 5 days a week for adults. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also look better, and your opportunity for being a stroke statistic nosedive.
In addition to walking or other forms of exercise, you can lower your heart rate by changing your eating habits. Lower the salt, eat healthier, and drink plenty of water, and suddenly your feeling 16 again! Okay, maybe not 16, but you will notice a pep in your step, and again, with exercise, you’re becoming a beacon of health and working to keep a stroke at bay.
Cut the smoking! Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation techniques. The sooner you stop, the faster your body will start to heal itself. Not only will you reduce the chance of stroke, but you reduce the risk of heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease (discussed in a previous blog), and even premature death.
Limit the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. Not to mention heavy binge drinking, frequent drinking or alcohol abuse, even a consistent amount of moderate drinking can adversely affect your health. Increased blood pressure and weight, as well as the higher risk of diabetes or liver damage, can contribute to the possibility of a stroke.
Vascular Associates of South Alabama
Now that we’ve outlined what you can do to help yourself, let’s talk briefly about what the caring team at Vascular Associates of South Alabama can do for you. Our highly trained and experienced specialists partner with our patients to help identify those at risk and may order a specific ultrasound exam to get a better look at their carotid arteries and then develop a plan of action based on the results of the ultrasound. We may discuss changes in the habits mentioned above, prescribe medications to help reduce some stroke indicators or explore the option of surgery to help with blood flow.
You can trust that our caring staff at any of our convenient locations will make you and your health our utmost priority. We welcome new patients and accept almost every major medical insurance plan.
Come see us at Vascular Associates of South Alabama, and let’s work together to get you back on the road to better health!