Providence experts offer tips for stroke awareness month

April 17, 2014

Every 40 seconds, somewhere in America, someone has a stroke. It is a leading cause of death in the U.S. – claiming more than 130,000 lives every year. Half of all Americans have at least one of the three major risk factors for stroke. But stroke doesn't have to kill. And it doesn't have to happen. For May, National Stroke Awareness Month, Providence has experts available to talk about the telltale signs someone is having a stroke. Plus, from your emotions to how much sleep you get, what every person can do to help prevent a stroke.

Anger increases stroke risk

The way you handle your emotions could increase your stroke risk. A new study suggests a person's risk of stroke more than triples in the two hours after an angry episode. Providence experts say that doesn't need to be the case. From yoga to walking to simply talking with someone – our experts have tips on the many ways to deal with emotions before they turn to rage. 

The new link between insomnia and stroke

Trouble sleeping? That might increase your risk of stroke, as well, especially if you're a young adult. Young adults who suffer from insomnia are up to eight times more likely to have a stroke. And while researchers found an association between insomnia and higher stroke risk, it's not the insomnia that causes the stroke. Instead, insomniacs tended to have more risk factors that can lead to stroke, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Providence experts have tips to help people get a better night's sleep and decrease those dangerous risk factors. 

New stroke guidelines just for women

Because pregnancy, birth control pills, and migraine headaches accompanied by aura all influence stroke risk in women, new female-specific guidelines have been released. Providence has experts who can explain stroke risks unique to women and the recommendations to treat them.

Do you know the signs of stroke? Most Americans don't

A recent study found one in five U.S. women cannot identify a single stroke warning sign, even though stroke is the third leading cause of death among women. Previous studies have shown men are equally challenged when it comes to knowing the signs of a stroke. Even if someone knows they are having a stroke, they might not be able to communicate. That's why the National Stroke Association developed the FAST test to educate people about the importance of recognizing the signs of a stroke.

F – FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the mouth or face droop?
A – ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Can one arm not be raised?
S – SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a sentence. Can they repeat it correctly? Do they slur the words?
T – TIME: If the person exhibits any problems with these it's time to call for emergency help.

Stroke prevention's simple steps

Is what you are eating and drinking raising your risk of stroke? People who consume just two sweetened beverages a day increase their risk of stroke by more than 20 percent. Weight, blood pressure or cholesterol a little higher than it should be? Then so is your risk of having a stroke. But these risk factors can all be changed. From dietary changes to committing to an exercise program, Providence experts can help create a plan to lower your stroke risk.