Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Every 40 seconds, one person in the United States experiences a stroke.

A stroke occurs when blood flow is cut off to the brain causing the brain tissue to die, which may result in permanent damage or death. Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death nationally.

Although there are several risk factors not within your control — family history, age and history of prior stroke or heart attack — there are many steps you can take to help prevent a stroke. Obesity, smoking and overconsumption of alcohol, for example, can lead to a stroke.  

“Stroke care starts in the community with prevention,” said Dr. Smaranda Galis, co-medical director of Norman Regional’s stroke program. “We’re learning every day that there is much more we can do to treat stroke, but we're also learning that taking care of our own health by living a healthy lifestyle is just as important as acute stroke treatment.”


Tips to Prevent a Stroke

  • Quit smoking and limit exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all.   
  • Stay physically active by setting a daily exercise routine and keeping to your routine.
  • Improve your eating habits by choosing low-fat and low-sodium foods.
  • Know your numbers — cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose — and keep them controlled.
  • Find healthy ways to decrease your stress level.
  • Receive regular check-ups with your doctors to manage your medications, address your mental health needs and manage any current medical problems that may put you at higher risk for a stroke.


Recognizing Signs of a Stroke

Although the preference is to prevent a stroke from occurring, it is also important to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and act “FAST.” If you notice someone with the following symptoms, call 911.

  • Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
  • Arm weakness: Is the arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
  • Time to call 911: If the person shows ANY of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 immediately. Stroke treatment can start as soon as the paramedics reach you.

To learn more about Norman Regional’s nationally recognized Stroke Center, visit