May is Stroke Awareness Month.
Did you know that stroke is a leading cause of death and serious disability nationwide? And about 80% of strokes are preventable. We hope to share some tools to help you learn how to prevent and treat stroke, as well as how our Neurological Rehabilitation Adult Day Program (NRADP) can help you!
What is stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood flow that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked or ruptures, causing brain tissue to become damaged or die within minutes.
These are the two major types of strokes:
(1) Ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot or other particles blocking blood flow to the brain, (2) Hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by a blood vessel rupturing in the brain.
Symptoms of brain cell damage are shown in parts of the body controlled by the damaged brain cells. 87% of strokes are ischemic strokes.
There is also a third type of stroke, a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a warning sign or “mini stroke” where blood flow to the brain is blocked for only a short amount of time.
It’s important to learn what causes stroke as early action is crucial.
Have you heard of F.A.S.T.?
F = Face Drooping
A = Arm Weakness
S = Speech Difficulty
T = Time to Call 911
If the person shows any of the first 3 symptoms, call 911 to get medical treatment immediately.
Other warning signs include the unusual and sudden onset of these symptoms:
- A feeling of numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg (You might notice it on one side more than the other.)
- Vision problems in one or both eyes
- Dizziness or loss of balance; difficulty walking
- Problems speaking or understanding what other people are saying
- Severe headaches without warning or explanation
Women may have the same symptoms as men, but they’ve also reported a few others. These symptoms also happen suddenly and unexpectedly:
- Pains in the face or legs
- Feeling weak all over
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart beat
Are you at risk for stroke?
Anyone at any age can have a stroke. Age, gender, ethnicity, and family history are risk factors beyond your control that can increase your chances of having a stroke. Your risk of stroke increases with age with about 65% of strokes occurring over age 65. Stroke kills more women than men. African-Americans have the highest rate of death from stroke. If a family member has had a stroke, you may be at a greater risk of stroke.
With 80% of stroke being preventable, it is important to know the unhealthy habits and treatable risk factors of stroke. The most important treatable risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure, as well as, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes.
The CDC references these steps you can take to reduce your risk for stroke:
- Eat a healthy diet low in sodium with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Be physically active.
- Don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke.
- Limit alcohol use.
- Prevent or manage your other health conditions, especially high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
It is important to control, treat and improve these stroke risk factors. The American Stroke Association has a great ‘Stroke Risk Quiz’ you can take on their website.
Effects of Stroke
Understanding the brain is important to understanding the effects a stroke can have on your body functions. The effects of a stroke depend on what part of the brain the blockage or burst occurred in and the extent of brain tissue damage. The effects will appear on the opposite side of the body that the stroke occurs on and can include paralysis or weakness in some parts of the body, memory loss, problems speaking, numbness, trouble thinking, expressing emotion, or even swallowing. There is always hope after stroke – and rehabilitation through speech, physical and occupational therapy is the next step in recovery and to regaining your independence!
About Easterseals Colorado’s Neurological Rehabilitation Adult Day Program
Easterseals Colorado provides a unique day program for people living with neurological disorders, such as but not limited to, Parkinson’s disease, MS, TBI, Stroke, etc. Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapies are available through an adult day program environment, assisting participants in their pursuit of independence. It is a place to find community, support, and friendship. This program also provides respite for caregivers. Our program hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday to Friday at our Vestal Center located at 5755 W Alameda Ave, Lakewood, CO 80226. Some participants utilize Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver Funds, VA Benefits, and Private-Pay to pay for program fees and transportation.
*We are offering VIRTUAL programming to qualified applicants! Due to current COVID-19 restrictions and limited capacity, we are not accepting new in-person applicants. However, we can offer a variety of virtual programming to qualified applicants. We also offer FREE virtual Facebook live sessions on Easterseals Colorado’s Facebook page – Mindfulness Meditation at 10:00 a.m. and Rehabilitative Strengthening at 1:30 p.m. Feel free to join us and tune in!
Learn more about Easterseals Colorado’s Neurological Rehabilitation Adult Day Program on our wbsite here or contact Jessica Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more specific information on stroke awareness, visit the CDC’s website or the American Stroke Association’s website.