From an interview with
Dr. Timothy Hagen, Medical Director
MRMC Neurology & Stroke
A stroke is a medical emergency. Symptoms of stroke include trouble walking, speaking, and understanding, as well as paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg. Early treatment with medications like tPA (clot buster) can minimize brain damage. Other treatments focus on limiting complications and preventing additional strokes.
Here is a summary of Dr. Hagen’s comments:
“The number one risk factor for stroke appears to be hypertension. What happens is that people don’t know they have high blood pressure. You need to have your blood pressure checked, preferably at different times throughout the day. If it’s high, that’s your signal that you need to make some lifestyle changes, including lowering your salt intake or taking medication to reduce the risk of having a stroke.
Education is another factor in reducing stroke risks. If you have an acute stroke-ready hospital, then the staff there will be equipped to share information with you on dietary changes you may need to consider. I tell my patients that the Mediterranean diet or a variation of that way of eating can greatly reduce the risk for having a stroke. That means eating green leafy vegetables and high-fiber foods while reducing the amount of processed foods and grilled or fried foods. Being proactive in these areas will lower your risk for stroke.
Some of the other risk factors that need to be considered — apart from diet, blood pressure, and chronic disease management, such as diabetes — is for patients to stop smoking. What we have found is that smoking is like putting corosive inside your blood vessals that causes hardening of the arteries, as well as blockages within the arteries. That is what sets you up for a stroke.”
To learn more, take our Stroke Quiz.