A stroke, sometimes called a "brain attack," occurs when blood flow to an area in the brain is cut off. The brain cells, deprived of the oxygen and glucose needed to survive, die. If not caught early, permanent brain damage and death can result.
The most common symptoms of a stroke are:
- Weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body
- Loss of vision or dimming (like a curtain falling) in one or both eyes
- Loss of speech, difficulty talking, or understanding what others are saying
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
- Loss of balance or unstable walking, usually combined with another symptom
The good news is that stroke is preventable. There are some risk factors that cannot be controlled such as age, but there are controllable risk factors that play major roles that can be addressed including:
- High blood pressure
- Atrial fibrillation
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Being overweight
- Existing carotid and/or coronary artery disease
If you have been paying attention to Men's Health Week and the top health concerns, you are probably seeing a theme of wellness - don't smoke, moderation in alcohol consumption, and watch your weight. If you follow those three you can reduce the risk of stroke and really all of the health concerns.