May is Stroke Awareness Month. Knowing the facts about stroke can help us spread awareness and prevent a stroke before it happens.
Strokes are dangerous because they cause brain tissue to die, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This is why people who experience a stroke can suffer from brain damage, disability, or even death. The death of the tissues destroys important parts of the brain, stopping them from functioning.
A stroke can happen in one of two ways. If the blood supply to the brain is blocked, it can cause what’s called an ischemic stroke. Ischemia means a part of your body, like your brain, isn’t getting enough blood. If a blood vessel in the brain bursts, this is called a hemorrhagic stroke because of the escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel, known as a hemorrhage.
How Common Are Strokes?
Strokes kill almost 150,000 Americans each year. They account for about 20% of deaths from cardiovascular diseases. A person’s risk for a stroke dramatically increases if they’ve already had one. The CDC reports that 1 in 4 strokes are repeat offenders, meaning 25% of strokes are recurrent strokes.
Can I Prevent A Stroke?
Many factors contribute to stroke risk. Some factors are outside of our control, like age, sex, and ethnicity. For example, non-Hispanic Blacks have the highest rates of stroke mortality in the United States, according to the CDC. But there are other factors we can control.
For example, we can lower our stroke risk by ensuring we get at least 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 3 to 4 days per week. That’s 120-160 minutes each week, according to research from the American Heart Association.
Tobacco products and high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or obesity also increase your risk for stroke. It’s very important to control your blood pressure and manage cholesterol and blood glucose levels when it comes to stroke prevention. The CDC states that “high blood pressure is the single most important treatable risk factor for stroke.”
Exercising more, quitting tobacco, and practicing healthy eating habits are methods we can use to control these risk factors.
Overall, it’s crucial to understand the facts about strokes, raise awareness, and take preventive measures to reduce the risk of experiencing a stroke.
What Can I Do If I’ve Had A Stroke?
If you or a loved one has experienced a stroke, Watermark Medical Partners may be able to help. We offer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy that has been shown to successfully influence the level of activity or responsiveness in the cortex, which is the outer layer of the brain, in individuals who have had a stroke.
TMS Therapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific regions of the brain. While TMS is commonly associated with mental health conditions, it can also be beneficial for stroke victims in certain cases.