For those of you who have been reading my heart health articles, you now know my mother has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She has also experienced some light strokes, which is leading into dementia. Her short-term memory is affected and she gets confused more easily.
A heart attack occurs when your blood flow becomes blocked to a section of your heart. This causes that portion of your heart muscle to die. Strokes occur when a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel interferes with the blood flow to an area of your brain. Brain cells die because of blockage and causes brain damage. Heart disease is America’s number one cause of death while strokes are the number four leading cause of death. For more information on strokes, please watch the video.
There are actually two types of strokes: Ischemic and hemorrhagic
Nearly 87 percent of all strokes fall into this category. These strokes are caused by a blocked artery or blood clot or by the build-up of plaque and fatty deposits over time.
Approximately 13 percent of strokes fall into this category, but are responsible for more than thirty percent of deaths from strokes. These strokes are caused by a blood vessel breaking in the brain which causes blood to leak.
The potential to have transient ischemic attacks (TIA, otherwise known as mini-strokes) will increase with age. It’s estimated that at least 40 percent of those who have mini strokes will eventually have a stroke.
How are strokes and heart attacks preventable?
If you aren’t currently living a healthy lifestyle, then it’s never too soon to start. If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages blood vessels. Adopt a healthy diet with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Make sure you are getting enough fiber, protein and go easy on the salt. Do you have a daily exercise routine? Even if you find it difficult to exercise daily, get into a habit of at least exercising 30 minutes three times a week and walk when you have the opportunity. Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
If you or someone you know were having a stroke, would you know it? Here are symptoms of strokes to watch for: FAST
- Face – Can the person smile? Does one side of the face droop?
- Arms – Can the person lift both arms? Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech – Can the person repeat a simple phrase? Is their speech slurred or strange?
- Time – If there are any signs of the above, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Heart attack symptoms – Click Here.
If you or someone you know has any symptom of either a heart attack or a stroke, getting medical help as soon as possible may save a life.
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