From garbled text messages to slurred speech, green tea to vitamin D - Providence experts talk stroke signs and prevention

April 24, 2013
PORTLAND, Ore. – Would you know if your co-worker or loved one was having a stroke? Recognizing the signs is important and could save a life. On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 45 seconds, and someone dies from one every four minutes. But strokes don’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 the latest advice on stroke prevention.  

Smartphones reveal stroke clues
Add garbled and disjointed text messages to the list of signs of stroke. It’s called dystextia, and stroke experts around the country have had several cases in which a person speaks coherently, but sends garbled text messages. Neurologists say because text messages are time-stamped, they could be useful in helping doctors determine precisely when a patient’s stroke symptoms began. That’s important because, to be most effective, the blood clot-busting drug tPA must be administered within three hours of a ischemic stroke occurring.  

Walk away your stroke risk
New research suggests women who walk briskly for at least three hours a week lower their stroke risk by 40 percent. While it may not be surprising when you compare those walkers to inactive women, brisk walkers also have a significantly lower stroke risk that women who cycle or engage in higher-intensity workouts for a shorter amount of time. Providence has experts to explain the benefits of a consistent, moderate exercise routine.  

Why you should add fiber, coffee and green tea to your diet
A new study suggests eating high-fiber foods may decrease your stroke risk. Every seven-gram increase in water soluble fiber, like what’s found in beans and nuts, reduced the risk by seven percent. A person can add seven grams to their diet by eating two extra portions of fruit and/or vegetables. Meanwhile, a different study found that drinking a cup of coffee and two cups of green tea daily cuts stroke risk by one third. Providence experts can talk about this and other foods linked to lower stroke risk.     

Add low vitamin D to list of stroke risk factors
There’s new evidence the biggest risk factor of stroke, hypertension, is linked to low levels of vitamin D. Researchers say people who had the highest intake of vitamin D had an 11 percent reduction in stroke. Providence has experts who can talk about how much vitamin D you should be taking. And from your diet to outdoor recreation, our experts have tips on how to raise you vitamin D levels without taking a supplement.  

Did you know the signs of stroke?
Ninety percent of Americans do not 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.