Understanding strokes, avoiding becoming a statistic

Published 10:22am Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In the U.S., strokes are the third leading cause of death and result in more than 140,000 deaths per year. Here are some statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.
• Each year, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks.
• On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.
• Strokes can occur at any age – nearly 25 percent of strokes occur in people younger than age 65.
• Almost 75 percent of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65, and the risk of having a stroke more than doubles each ten years after the age of 55.
• Stroke death rates are higher for African-Americans than for whites, even at younger ages.
• The risk of an ischemic stroke caused by a clot is almost double for current smokers versus nonsmokers after adjustment for other risk factors.
• High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke.
Those are the basic facts about strokes.  Prevention is the key. And as always, don’t smoke, watch your diet, exercise, get adequate sleep and regularly monitor your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
These are the simple steps needed to help keep you and your loved ones from becoming a stroke statistic. And considering the potential downside from a stroke – death or disability, I’d like to think that what I just shared with you could be motivation enough to make sure you do the right things.
Ron Kauffman is a geriatric consultant and expert on issues of aging in private practice in Henderson and Polk counties.  He is the author of “Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease,” available on Amazon.com and at the Polk County Senior Center.  His podcasts can be heard weekly at www.seniorlifestyles.net. Contact him at (828) 696-9799 or by email at:  drron561@gmail.com.

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