Each year stroke claims about 160,000 lives, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer. But there are things that people can do to minimize their risk.
In its continuing effort to help people recognize their risk for stroke, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital will host “Time Loss is Brain Loss,” a free event from 6:30 to 8 p.m. July 30 at the Community House, 415 W. Eighth St, Hinsdale. Dr. Scott Guth, an emergency room physician, and Dr. Christopher Simon, a neurologist who is medical director of the hospital’s Primary Stroke Center, will discuss the signs and symptoms of stroke.
Adventist Hinsdale Hospital is now certified as a primary stroke center by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. This coveted achievement is based on the hospital’s ability to provide safe, high-quality care, treatment and services to patients experiencing strokes.
About 700,000 people suffer from a stroke each year, making it the most common cause of disability in the nation. “It is important people know what their risk factors are for stroke so they can take preventive measures,” Simon said.
There are two kinds of stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage of blood flow. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding into the brain or the space surrounding the brain. In both cases, stroke cuts off oxygen from the brain. The body sends five clues to warn of a stroke:
• sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body,
• sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding,
• sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes,
• sudden trouble walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination, and
• sudden severe headache with no known cause.
“If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 or get to a hospital right away,” Guth said. “Three hours can mean the difference between life and death (or permanent disability) in treating stroke.”
Even waiting just a few minutes can have a disastrous effect, Simon added.
“The longer blood flow is cut off and the longer treatment is delayed,” he said, “the more likely it is that the patient will suffer permanent damage.”
There are four common and treatable risk factors for stroke: high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, heart disease and diabetes. Patients can decrease their chances of stroke by maintaining a proper weight, stopping smoking and by eating a healthy diet.
“Your risk for stroke can be decreased by simply following basic health guidelines,” Simon said.
For instance, eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day can lower a patient’s stroke risk by 26 percent.
To register for this free program, call 630-856-7525 or visit keepingyouwell.com.