Contrary to popular belief, strokes happen in the brain - not the heart.

Contrary to popular belief, strokes happen in the brain – not the heart.

Each May, the medical and healthcare community, including scores of survivors, observes National Stroke Awareness Month – and with good reason. Each year, some 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke, and 130,000 die. That figure represents one death from stroke every four minutes nationwide and makes stroke the fourth leading cause of death in Americans across all ethnicities. And for those who survive, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in America.

Unfortunately, stroke also is one of the most misunderstood medical conditions. Cenegenics Jacksonville wants to make sure you know the facts from the myths:

Myth: Strokes happen in the heart.
Fact: A stroke is actually a brain attack. It happens when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to the brain. As a result, brain cells die and the abilities controlled by the affected area of the brain are lost. These abilities may include speech, movement and memory.

Myth: Strokes only affect the elderly
Fact: Anyone of any age, including children, can suffer a stroke. Contributing factors can include a family history of stroke, obesity, high cholesterol, certain medical conditions like diabetes, or lifestyle choices like smoking.

Myth: A stroke is unpreventable.
Fact: Your nutritional and lifestyle choices can go a long way in preventing a stroke. Eat nutritiously and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight and avoid conditions like high cholesterol and stroke. Nix your smoking habit and reduce your caffeine impact. Know that just one cup of caffeinated coffee can boost your blood pressure and make your heart work harder.

It’s also critical that you know the symptoms of a stroke. Symptoms come on suddenly and can include:

    Numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, typically affecting just one side of the body;
    Trouble speaking;
    Trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
    Dizziness or a loss of balance or coordination, making it difficult to walk;
    Severe headache with no apparent cause.

If you believe you’ve suffered a stroke, it’s critical that get emergency medical care immediately to limit the potential of brain damage and boost your chances for recovery.

But don’t wait until you have a stroke to begin taking preventative measures. Cenegenics Jacksonville can run diagnostics, evaluate the medical and lifestyle risk factors for stroke and develop a physician-directed plan to help protect your brain, heart and whole-body health. Call 904-674-0404 to schedule a consultation today.