Get Help for Stroke NOW
A lot of long-term stroke damage could be avoided if the victim got medical care within three hours. The American Stroke Association (ASA) describes the warning signs:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you see someone suffering from such symptoms, ask the person to smile, raise both arms and speak a simple sentence coherently (like, “It is sunny out today”). If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately. As the ASA says, time lost is brain lost.
Know Your Blood Pressure
If this idea seems obvious, it is—uncontrolled hypertension is the single biggest risk factor for stroke. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about setting up a schedule of regular pressure checks based on factors such your age and family history. If you already have hypertension, get a home blood pressure gage and learn how to use it correctly, and report any new symptoms, such as periods of dizziness, to your practitioner immediately.
Low potassium has been linked to increased
stroke risk, and bananas are a rich source of this key mineral.
(Avocadoes, citrus, green leafy vegetables, milk and nuts also contain
potassium.) In addition, bananas supply fiber, the mineral manganese and
vitamins B6 and C.
Try Brain Training to Recover Lost Speech
A home-based therapy may help stroke victims speak again. Called the Sensory Trigger Method (STM), it employs exercises that combine touch, sight and sound to encourage the development of new learning pathways in the brain. To learn more, visit www.strokefamily.org.