From Sleep to Snacks: Providence Experts Offer Tips for Stroke Awareness Month

April 24, 2012

It is the third leading cause of death in America – claiming a life every four minutes. 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. We’ve also got the latest advice on stroke prevention, covering everything from what you eat to how much you sleep.

Is your diet increasing your stroke risk?

One in three Americans will develop high blood pressure which, if left untreated, makes a person four times as likely to have a stroke. High blood pressure often is caused by a diet high in sodium. Providence has experts who offer simple tricks to slashing sodium from your diet – as well as other tips for lowering blood pressure.

Too little sleep doubles your risk of having a stroke

Studies suggest people getting less than six hours of sleep a night are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack. Lack of sleep also has been linked to diabetes, high stress hormones, blood pressure, heart rate and inflammatory markers, which are all bad for the heart. 

Do you know the signs of stroke?

Ninety percent of Americans don’t know the signs of stroke. That’s a troubling statistic since 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 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.

What's your stroke risk?

The Providence Stroke Center offers an interactive test to assess your risk for stroke. If it’s high, a Providence expert can help incorporate changes into your lifestyle to help lower your risk.