While COVID-19 has certainly (and rightly so) gotten most of our health-related
attention as of late, it is important that we take note that May is National
Stroke Awareness Month. According to the American Heart Association, stroke
is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke is an accident to the brain that occurs when blood flow to the
brain is cut off. Blood flow to the brain carries oxygen and nutrients
that keep the brain healthy and working well. When blood flow is absent,
some of the brain tissue dies, resulting in a loss of function. The longer
the blood flow is cut off, the more damage to the brain that will occur.
Types of Stroke
transient ischemic attack (TIA), often called a mini stroke, is a major warning sign. A TIA occurs
when something temporarily blocks blood flow to the brain. People often
don’t realize they’ve suffered a TIA. Since it doesn’t
cause permanent damage, it is often ignored. However, this is a big mistake.
TIAs may signal a full-blown stroke ahead.
Ischemic stroke, which account for about 87 percent of all strokes, happen when a clot
interrupts blood flow to the brain. Clots are often caused by atherosclerosis,
a buildup of fatty deposits on the inner lining of a blood vessel. Unlike
with a TIA, the clot doesn’t go away without treatment.
The most serious type is
hemorrhagic stroke that results from a blood vessel in the brain rupturing and spilling blood
into surrounding tissue. Surgery is often required to stop the bleeding
or reduce brain pressure.
Warning Signs of a Stroke
The signs and symptoms of stroke can vary greatly from person to person.
And they often come on suddenly.
Know the signs of a stroke and act F.A.S.T if you observe:
Slurred speech or difficulty speaking
Time to quickly call 911 if someone is having a stroke.
Knowing the signs of stroke is critical, but so is prevention. While you
can’t control certain risk factors, such as age or family history,
you can make some lifestyle changes that could substantially reduce your
risk of suffering a stroke. To reduce risks:
- Manage blood pressure. High blood pressure causes the highest risk for stroke.
- Control cholesterol.
- Reduce blood sugar.
- Eat a healthy diet. A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, low in
saturated and trans fats and high fiber can help lower cholesterol and
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk.
- Stay active. Physical activity helps you stay at a healthy weight and lower
cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Set a goal for at least 2.5 hours
of moderate activity per week.
- Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases the chance of having a stroke.
- Limit alcohol. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. A general
guide is no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink for women.
Recovering from Stroke
Rehabilitation is key to helping patients rebuild their strength and overcome
effects resulting from a stroke. Thibodaux Regional Rehabilitation Center
offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services that include physical,
occupational and speech therapy. Inpatient Rehabilitation services as
well as the Stroke Specialty Program have received the highest accreditation
For more information, call (985) 493-4731 for inpatient services, (985)
493-4782 for outpatient services or visit our website, https://www.thibodaux.com/centers-services/rehabilitation-center/.