Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in men (and the third most common cause of death in women), yet most guys can't name one stroke symptom. Here's how to recognize and prevent them.
If you're like most middle-aged guys, you probably don't spend much time worrying about having a stroke. After all, strokes are a risk we associate with later in life -something to fret about after we retire and are fitted with our first pair of dentures.
But maybe we should be a little more concerned. Strokes are, after all, the fifth most common cause of death in men - behind heart disease, cancer and accidents. They are indeed more likely in men over age 65, but they can happen at any age. Strokes are also more likely to be fatal and strike earlier in men than in women.
The consequences of a stroke can be devastating. Not only can a stroke kill you, but nonfatal strokes can leave you severely debilitated, paralyzed or unable to communicate.
However, the news isn't all bleak. According to the National Stroke Foundation, 80 percent of all strokes are preventable. So it's time to improve your odds. If you're at risk, you need to learn the signs of stroke and make some changes in your lifestyle.
- Exercising for at least half an hour on most days of the week
- Eating right - preferably a diet low in saturated fat (such as that in processed meats) and high in fruits and vegetables
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking -- smokers are twice as likely to have a stroke
For such a common killer of men, we tend to be woefully ill-informed about strokes. A third of all men can't name a single stroke symptom. So learn the signs of stroke. If you ever have any of the following stroke symptoms, you need treatment right away.
- Sudden numbness or weakness, particularly on only one side of the body
- Sudden confusion
- Trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Trouble with vision
- Trouble walking or maintaining balance
Whatever you do, never take signs of stroke lightly. Don't ignore them. Get to an emergency room right away. Because when it comes to stroke treatment, every minute counts.
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital offers advanced diagnostic, treatment, support and rehabilitation services for stroke patients. For more information, click here.