This is a difficult post for me to write but I feel it is important that we share our stories to help others. The risks of strokes are real and many of us are unaware of how much a stroke can affect our lives. My Grandfather had a stroke last December and it changed my and my family’s lives forever. Luckily the Lord was watching over him when it happened… he was in his basement and happened to be on the phone with my uncle when it occurred so we were able to get help to him fairly quickly but the damage had been done. We were able to enjoy his company for several months after until he left us to be with the Lord in August. His quality of life was never the same though. He spent those last months in a nursing home with a limited diet and restricted to bed or a wheelchair. We enjoyed many afternoons in the gazebo watching the geese and ducks in the pond and those moments we were blessed to be with him while we could. He is missed everyday.
Studies have shown that 80% of strokes can be prevented.
Major risk factors for stroke:
- High Blood Pressure – this is the main risk factor for stroke. It is important to do what you can to make sure you keep your blood pressure regulated. Watch your sodium intake, maintain a healthy weight are a couple of ways to control this; speak with your doctor for help.
- Heart Diseases – know your family history, speak to your doctor about risks.
- Smoking – smoking damages the blood vessels which raises your blood pressure, it also reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your body’s tissues.
- Excessive alcohol intake.
- Drug Use
- Age and Gender – as we get older, our risks increase. Men are more likely to have a stroke, but women are more likely to die from a stroke. It is so important to continue to take care of your health even as you get older.
- Personal or Family History – again know your family history and make sure you are finding ways to protect yourself.
- Overweight and Obesity
- Stress and Depression
- Unhealthy Diet & Lack of Physical Activity
I can’t stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself. A healthy diet and regular exercise routine has shown to significantly reduce the risks of stroke. Unfortunately in some cases we cannot prevent a stroke. Here are some signs of a possible stroke…
Stroke Warning Signs:
- Face Drooping
- Arm Weakness or Numbness
- Speech Difficulty
- Sudden Confusion
- Sudden trouble seeing
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache
Having a stroke or watching a family member or friend go through a stroke is never an easy process but we can do things to help reduce the risks and educate ourselves of the signs so that we can get them the help they need to survive it.
National Stroke Association – http://www.stroke.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute – http://www.nhlbi.org
American Stroke Association – http://www.strokeassociation.org
In honor of My Grandfather, you will be forever in our hearts.