May is Stroke Awareness Month. Did you know each year about as many Americans have a stroke as a heart attack? The good news is, that about 80 percent of strokes may be prevented.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke happens when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked or bursts. Blood and oxygen flow are interrupted, and brain cells begin to die. Every stroke is unique, but they tend to affect people in common ways. Strokes can have physical effects such as paralysis, muscle tightness and stiffness and seizures. Communication challenges are also a common effect of strokes. A person’s ability to speak, read and write can be affected. Following a stroke a person may experience emotional and behavioral changes, too. Their mood and outlook may change or they may become forgetful, careless, irritable or confused.
How Can I Prevent a Stroke?
80 percent of strokes may be prevented. So what can you do now? The number one risk factor you can get under control is high blood pressure. And don’t think high blood pressure is just an older adult concern. About one in four men and nearly one in five women ages 35 to 44 has high blood pressure. Additionally, more than 1 in 3 American adults with high blood pressure don’t know they have it.
Know Your Numbers
There’s only one way to know whether you have high blood pressure—have a health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless. Blood pressure should be checked at least once a year by a health professional, and diagnosing high blood pressure requires 2 or 3 readings on at least two occasions. Home monitoring with the use of automated devices is also a good way to keep a check on your blood pressure.
Need Help Monitoring Your Blood Pressure?
The Healthy Heart Ambassador program is designed to help adults manage and lower their blood pressure. The four-month program will teach you how to record and monitor your blood pressure and how to eat a heart healthy diet to help lower your blood pressure. You will work one-on-one with a trained Healthy Heart Ambassador.
Who Qualifies for the Program?
Participants must be 18 years of age or older and be diagnosed with high blood pressure. You must NOT have experienced a recent cardiac event, have atrial fibrillation or other arrhythmias, or have lymphedema or be at risk for it.
For more information or to sign up, contact Estella at 913-477-8348 or [email protected].