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
Remember: Time is brain. Every second counts, as nearly two million brains
cells die each minute that a stroke is left untreated. Quick medical care
can make the difference between recovery and death or permanent disability.
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.
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.
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.
In the southeastern Stroke Belt, of which Louisiana is part, the risk for
stroke is about 34 percent higher. Risk factors are typically the same
as for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions. 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.
People with diabetes and atrial fibrillation have a higher risk for stroke.
Women also tend to be at greater risk, due to depression, stress, hormones,
pregnancy and childbirth. African-Americans tend to suffer stroke at younger ages.
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.