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In the United States, approximately 800,000 adults experience a stroke every year. Victims often suffer a long, exhausting path to recovery and face the prospect of premature death as well as debilitating speech and mobility issues. Strokes do not happen at random. Many are triggered by blockages in the brain that result from years of poor lifestyle choices, mainly insufficient diet and lack of exercise. General heart disease is also linked to strokes and puts an individual at severe risk for an even greater cardiac arrest and/or heart attack. As an older adult, educating oneself and making small, but effective lifestyle choices can literally be the difference between life and death.
There are many factors that can increase your risk of stroke. Lifestyle risk factors include:
- Lack of proper, consistent exercise
- High blood pressure
- Obesity and weight issues
- Heavy drinking
- Use of cocaine, amphetamines and other hard drugs
Simple lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk of stroke and they’re often easy to implement. If you feel overwhelmed about starting a health regimen, there are plenty of health and nutrition groups offered by hospitals and community centers. If a group setting is not your style, there are many independent nutritionists/health counselors that can help you overhaul your lifestyle and achieve a healthy weight. They can be found online or even in your local hospital directory.
Symptoms of a Stroke:
- Sudden headache:The onset of a sudden, unusually severe headache along with dizziness, vomiting, or overall altered state of being
- Difficulty walking:Bumping into things, feeling off balance, losing your sense of coordination
- Blurred or difficulty seeing clearly:Seeing double, having blurry or even darkened vision in one or both eyes
- Slurred speech and comprehension:Confusion and trouble when speaking and difficulty understanding others
- Numbness or paralysis of the upper extremities:Your face, arm or leg may suddenly become weak and numb, usually occurring on either the right or left side of your body. A good test is to raise your arms above your head. If one arm is weak and begins to fall, it is a strong indication that you are having a stroke. You may also notice one side of your mouth begin to droop when you speak or smile.
Proper Medical Treatment:
If you are experiencing these symptoms, get medical treatment immediately Even if these symptoms are fleeting or inconsistent, call 911. Do not self diagnose! During a stroke, every minute counts. If a stroke goes untreated for too long it can cause brain damage and other debilitating medical issues. Be Active Be Well
DISCLAIMER: This article contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed regarding exercise and health care. It is presented as general advice on health care. Always consult your doctor for your individual needs. Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.