Letter: Educate yourself about stroke risk
Saturday, Oct. 29 has been designated as World Stroke Day, so this is a good time to review what we should know about this brain injury and how to prevent it.
A stroke is a "brain attack" that has potentially long-term and devastating effects by cutting off vital blood and oxygen to the brain cells that control everything we do: speaking, walking, talking, breathing. Most strokes are caused by a build-up of fatty deposits that create blood clots, blocking the arteries that carry oxygen to the brain.
A stroke occurs every 40 seconds, and each year, almost 800,000 people suffer some kind of stroke, and over 144,000 die. Survivors are often left with life-altering physical and cognitive disabilities. The good news is that many strokes can be prevented through lifestyle changes, and new emergency treatments can help stop the brain damage and disability.
Few Americans know the symptoms of stroke. Learning them—and acting fast by calling 9-1-1 when they occur—could save your life, and minimize long-term damage to your brain. Support World Stroke Day by reviewing your life today for possible stroke risk and taking steps to lower that risk for yourself and those you love.
I encourage everyone to go to the website of the American Stroke Association, http://www.strokeassociation.org, or to call toll-free 1-800-4-STROKE to learn about stroke warning signs and how to best prevent stroke.
Martha M. Hall, CBIS
Regional Resource Coordinator
Brain Injury Association of Virginia