Norman Regional Health System

Monday, May 3, 2021

Take a deep breath and count to 40.

In that short amount of time, one person in the United States has had a stroke — one of the leading causes of disability and death nationally. And, every four minutes, someone dies from 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. Although there are several risk factors not within your control — family history, age and history of prior stroke or heart attack — there are steps you can take to help prevent a stroke.

Stroke Prevention Tips

  • Monitor and control your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke. It is important that you regularly take your blood pressure and, if elevated, find ways to control it by making certain lifestyle changes and/or taking medication (if recommended by your healthcare provider). Learn more.

  • Lose weight. Obesity increases your chances of having a stroke. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight — even a small amount — can reduce your risk of having a stroke and developing other chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Work with your primary care provider to develop your weight loss plan. Norman Regional’s Journey Clinic may also be able to help. The comprehensive program includes both medical and surgical options for patients wanting to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Get moving. Staying physically active can help you maintain or lose weight and control your blood pressure. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.

  • Quit smoking and limit exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking causes a narrowing of blood vessels. This can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Visit www.okhelpline.com or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for help with quitting.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol or only drink alcohol in moderation.

  • Choose low-fat and low-sodium foods. Commit to eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of low-fat proteins and high-fiber foods low in sodium and sugar. Learn how.

  • Breathe in, breathe out and stop stressing. Chronic or long-term stress can have harmful effects on your overall health if not managed properly. Learn how to keep calm and carry on.

  • Get your Zzzs. Studies have shown that adults who get less than six hours of sleep each night on a continuous basis are at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese, and/or developing several chronic conditions, including heart disease and stroke.

In addition to the tips above, make sure to schedule regular checkups with your healthcare provider to review your medication list and manage any current health problems or address risk factors for future health problems, including stroke.

BE FAST

Recognizing the warning signs of a stroke and making sure to “BE FAST” can prevent serious disability or death. If you notice someone with the following symptoms, call 911.

  • Balance: Does the person appear off balance, dizzy or uncoordinated?

  • Eyes: Is the person having trouble seeing out of one or both eyes?

  • 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.

We want you to live a healthy life. Although we hope these tips will help you improve your overall health, we know that you and your family members will still get colds and other illnesses. If you need medical advice, log on to Norman Regional Virtual Care and visit with a provider today from the comfort of your home or office. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $55 for each visit.

If a stroke does occur, Norman Regional’s award-winning stroke center has you covered. Norman Regional’s Stroke Center is one of Norman Regional’s Centers of Excellence. To learn more about Norman Regional’s nationally recognized Stroke Center, visit https://www.normanregional.com/services/stroke-center.