Parish health ministry header.

 HOME  ::  


stroke awareness
Each year in the United States, there are more than 700,000 strokes. Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in this country. A stroke causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. Nearly ¾ of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65 and the risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55. For African Americans, stroke is more common and more deadly – even in young and middle-aged adults – than for any ethnic or other racial group in the U.S.

WHAT IS A STROKE? A stroke is serious – just like a heart attack. A stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack.” Most often, stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain stops because it is blocked by a clot. The brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting oxygen and nutrients they need to function.

nurseWHAT CAUSES A STROKE? There are 2 kinds of stroke. The most common kind of stroke, is chemic stroke, is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain. The other kind of stroke, called hemorrhagic stroke, is caused by a blood vessel that breaks and bleeds into the brain.

WHAT DISABILITIES CAN RESULT FROM A STROKE? Stroke damage in the brain can affect the entire body – resulting in mild to severe disabilities. These include paralysis, problems with thinking, problems with speaking, and emotional problems.

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body).
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Do not wait for the symptoms to improve or worsen. If you are having a stroke – someone you know is having a stroke – call 911 immediately. Making the decision to call for medical help can make the difference in avoiding a lifelong disability.

KNOW STROKE PREVENTION -WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT A STROKE? While family history plays a role in your risk, there are many risk factors you can control.
If you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to get it under control. Many people do not realize they have high blood pressure, which usually produces no symptoms but is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Managing your high blood pressure is the most important thing you can do to avoid stroke.
If you smoke, QUIT.If you have diabetes, learn how to manage it. As with high blood pressure, diabetes usually causes no symptoms but it increases the chance of stroke.
If you are overweight, start maintaining a healthty diet and exercising regularly.

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT STROKE? Talk with your doctor about personal risk factors for having a stroke. For more information about stroke prevention and treatment the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at 1-800-352-9424.

One hundred thousand young and middle-aged women will suffer strokes this year. One-third of strokes occur in women under the age of 65. Stroke is a leading cause of disability in women. Stroke risk doubles every decade after the age of 55. Most people do not know that stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer every year. Nearly 20% of women report they do not know any risk factors. It is estimated the 59% to 75% of caregivers are women.
The average caregiver is a married 46-year-old working woman earning $36,000 per year.
Up to 80% of strokes are preventable.

Chances are you have a special woman in your life. Is it yourmother, your sister, or your best friend? Is it you? Understanding strokes or brain attacks and how they affect women is so important for the health and well-being of all the women in your life.

STROKE IS PREVENTABLE. Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented.
STROKE IS TREATABLE. Learn to recognize stroke symptoms and realize that a stroke is an emergency. The first 3 hours are the most important. Once you pass three hours, doctors are limited in how or if they can treat your stroke.
STROKE IS NOT ONLY YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S DISEASE. Realize that stroke can happen to anyone at any age, not just the elderly - more than 30% of strokes occur in women before the age of 65.

STROKE RISK RISES IF YOU HAVE CERTAIN MEDICAL CONDITIONS. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation (a form of irregular or racing heartbeat); can increase a woman’s risk for stroke. Smoking is one of the top risk factors for stroke. Unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and weight problems can also increase a woman’s odds of having a stroke. Women who are on the “pill” and smoke significantly increase their stroke risk. Stroke risk doubles for a woman if a relative in her immediate family has suffered a stroke.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSION) The most common cause of stroke. Women are at higher stroke risk if they are obese, take certain birth control pills, are pregnant or have a family history of high blood pressure,
especially if they smoke. Hypertension puts stress on blood vessel walls
and can lead to strokes from blood clots or hemorrhages.

DIABETES. Diabetes affects a person’s ability to move sugar out of the blood stream into cells. If is often called a “woman’s disease” because after the age of 45, about twice as many women than men develop diabetes. People with diabetes have a higher risk of stroke.

MIGRAINE HEADACHES. The majority of Americans who suffer migraines are women. These very painful headaches can increase a woman’s stroke risk 3 – 6 times. If a woman smokes, has a history of migraines, and takes oral contraceptives, her stroke risk is increased as much as 34 times.

MENOPAUSAL/HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY. Combined hormone therapy of progestin and estrogen for post menopausal women increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. For every hip fracture that was prevented with hormone replacement, there were 8 more strokes and 8 more invasive breast cancers.

THICK WAIST AND TRIGLYCERIDES. Postmenopausal women with a waist size larger then 35.2 inches and a triglycerides or blood fat level higher than 128, may have a five-fold increase stroke risk.

©2007 St. James Catholic Church, Hopewell, VA