From speech difficulty to losing the ability to move part of your body, the effects of a stroke are life-altering. During National Stroke Awareness Month we’re sharing the warning signs of a stroke, and how you can protect your family and those you love with tips on how to prevent a stroke.
The ability to recognize the stroke signs and symptoms is vital to assuring proper stroke care is administered within the right time frame for optimal recovery. According to the Center for Disease Control, the signs of stroke in women and signs of stroke in men are:
- Numbness in the face, arm, or leg—especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
The American Stroke Foundation suggests using the acronym F.A.S.T. to help identify and take action—and quickly—for optimal stroke care.
- Face Drooping
- Arm Weakness
- Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred?
- Time to call 911
The acronym F.A.S.T. is also used to remind those who think they or someone else may be experiencing the warning signs of a stroke to act quickly. The CDC states that stroke treatments are most effective when administered the first three hours of when symptoms first start.
Additional signs of stroke in women
It’s possible that women may experience additional stroke symptoms. The American Stroke Foundation asserts that women should be aware of these additional warning signs:
- General weakness
- Disorientation and confusion or memory problems
- Fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
These signs may be more subtle but are equally important to recognize and get treatment quickly to make sure women are eligible for stroke care.
Signs of a mini stroke
Mini stroke symptoms or transient ischemic attack symptoms differ from normal stroke symptoms in duration. If stroke symptoms dissipate within a few minutes, it’s possible a mini stroke occurred. If you think you experienced a transient ischemic attack, it’s still important to seek immediate medical attention as it could be one of the early signs of stroke or another serious medical condition.
Healthy foods and lifestyle changes for stroke prevention
As it’s true for other illnesses and diseases, diet and exercise are an important part of reducing risk factors and staying healthy.
Adjusting your diet and consuming healthy foods are important lifestyle changes for stroke prevention.
One way to achieve this recommended lifestyle is through the Mediterranean diet, as mentioned by CHM’s Medical Director Dr. Jacobson. In a scientific study, the Mediterranean diet reduced the chances of having another significant cardiovascular event such as stroke, heart attack, or death by 70 percent.
According to the American Stroke Association consuming fewer calories, having cholesterol control, and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can also help reduce the risk of stroke.
Physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, and stroke, and helps you lose weight (American Stroke Association). Aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week—even a daily walk can go a long way in improving your health and reducing your stroke risks!
The road to stroke recovery is often long and difficult—for stroke patients and their loved ones alike. Having a care team or attending a stroke support group for patients or finding support for caregivers is an important part of the journey.
Members of Christian Healthcare Ministries have additional ways they can get support during recovery in addition to sharing the cost of their medical bills: Through the ministry’s Prayer’s Unceasing program and through the ministry’s healing scriptures blogs.
You can find other spiritual healing resources, biblical truths for healing, and spiritual encouragement through the ministry’s spiritual resources.
Through Prayers Unceasing, you can receive encouragement from hundreds of your brothers and sisters in Christ by being lifted in prayer and receiving cards, letters, or emails of encouragement as you face the challenges of stroke recovery. It’s another way CHM members are the hands and feet of Jesus in the lives of fellow Christians facing some of life’s most challenging times.
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