Number of stroke-related deaths drop in United States May 28, 2012
SPRINGFIELD According to new federal statistics, stroke has dropped from the No. 3 cause of death in the United States to No. 4.
According to the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, about 795,000 Americans still suffer a new or recurrent stroke per year and studies have shown that an estimated 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year. Additionally, women accounted for 60.6 percent of U.S. stroke deaths in 2006.
Through its national initiative, the American Heart Association Go Red For Women movement urges women to empower themselves to make it their personal mission to beat heart disease and stroke in women. Even though largely preventable, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death of all Americans, including women.
Stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease that occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood that it needs to function.
Although some stroke risk factors are hereditary or are part of natural processes, including suffering a prior stroke or heart attack, age, family history, gender or race, other risk factors can be changed or controlled. These factors include high blood pressure, smoking, high blood cholesterol, poor diet and physical inactivity.
The American Stroke Association recommends the following to lessen one's risk:
- Eat a healthy diet Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all of the food groups. Choose foods like lean meats, fish and poultry without skin, vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Cut back on foods and beverages high in cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
- Know your blood pressure People with normal blood pressure have about half the risk of stroke as those with high blood pressure.
- Exercise every day Walk or do other forms of physical activity for at least 30 minutes on most or all days. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.
- Stop smoking Nonsmokers have about half the risk of stroke as people who smoke cigarettes.
It's also vital to recognize a stroke and seek immediate attention.
Know the signs of a stroke:
- 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.
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. Time is of the essence when it comes to a stroke. If a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is given within three hours of the start of symptoms, it can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.
To learn more visit www.strokeassociation.org