Strokes kill 130,000 Americans every year, which is 1 out of every 19 deaths. It is also the leading cause of disability. But would you recognize the signs of a stroke if it was happening to you or to a loved one?
The day started liked any other for Brad and Sara Fahrenkamp with breakfast before work with their two little boys.
But suddenly Brad got very sick.
Sara Fahrenkamp told Ivanhoe, "He said I just don't feel well, I feel kind of nauseous and flu-like. I'm just going to stay home today."
Throughout their marriage, Brad had always been healthy. By nighttime they knew something was very wrong.
Stroke patient, Brad Fahrenkamp told Ivanhoe, "My left arm and part of my face were numb and tingling. I went to stand up to dress myself and I fell right to the floor.
Sara Fahrenkamp said, "I was absolutely shocked when the physician in the ER said to us, your husband has had not just one stroke, but three strokes."
A stroke occurs when blood flow is blocked to the brain or blood leaks in the brain and damages cells. Symptoms occur in the parts of the body controlled by those cells.
Neurological Physical Therapist for the University of Cincinnati , Paige Thomas, PT-MSR told Ivanhoe, "The quicker that you can obtain emergency services and emergency care, the quicker you can receive treatment and medication that can hopefully stop the stroke or prevent it from becoming worse."
That's why experts say it's important to know the stroke warning signs. Signs include numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, speech or vision problems, dizziness, severe headache and nausea.
Brad survived and is recovering well thanks to intensive therapy.
Brad Fahrenkamp told Ivanhoe, "Seek help as fast as possible. It's one thing that you won't regret."
Doctors with the American Stroke Association say that your chances of recovery are better if you can get medical treatment within about 3 hours of a stroke. While stroke can happen to anyone, smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure are significant risk factors.
BACKGROUND: Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke is when a blood clot blocks an artery or when a blood vessel breaks. This causes blood flow to be stopped to a certain area of the brain. This then causes brain cells to die and also for brain damage to occur. During a stroke, when these brain cells die, the brain loses its ability to control certain areas. The abilities that are most often lost during a stroke are speech, memory and movement. The effects of a stroke differ due to what part of the brain is affected, as well as how much it is affected. The difference can be anything from body weakness to being completely paralyzed in certain body parts. While some people are able to recover from a stroke, more than two-thirds of people have some sort of disability after.
(Source: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=stroke )
STROKE PREVENTION: Strokes are about 80% preventable if people take appropriate steps to take care of their bodies. Strokes can happen to anyone at any age, but certain factors can put you at more of a risk. Age and family history are factors that play a role in strokes, but those can't be controlled. However there are certain steps that people can take to reduce other risks. A healthy diet is a very important part of prevention. Eat a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, and eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol. Diets high in fiber can help ward off high cholesterol. Excessive salt can lead to high blood pressure, so that should be limited. Try and maintain a healthy weight because being overweight or obese increases the risk for a stroke. By staying active you can maintain a healthy weight as well as reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Smoking cigarettes increase your chances of a stroke greatly. If you already smoke, try quitting to help reduce your risk. Also limit alcohol intake because alcohol can increase blood pressure.
(Source: http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/healthy_living.htm )
SIGNS OF A STROKE: All of these signs happen suddenly.
· Weakness or numbness of face, leg, or arm, usually on one side of the body
· Confusion and difficult time speaking or understanding
· Trouble seeing
· Difficulty walking, loss of balance, or dizziness
· Severe headache
* For More Information, Contact:
Mary Beth Puryear
Manager, Public Relations & Marketing
Daniel Drake Center
University of Cincinnati Health
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