We get this question a lot and we advise that you make an appointment with your family doctor. Medical research says lower blood pressure through diet and exercise first, lower cholesterol through diet and exercise second, avoid diabetes through diet and exercise third, and don’t smoke period. Doing this tilts the odds in your favor and probably improves outcomes if you have the misfortune to have a stroke.
Archive for December, 2009
Teaching Kids About Stroke Can Spare Their Parents Disability
By Glenda Fauntleroy, Contributing Writer
Health Behavior News Service
Teaching children how to recognize when family members are experiencing a stroke and to call 911 might be a good way to save stroke victims from becoming disabled permanently, according to a new study.
If patients receive emergency medical attention within the first three hours of having stroke symptoms such as facial and arm weakness, they are more likely to overcome its damaging effects.
The study in the January issue of the journal Health Promotion Practice notes earlier findings that Mexican-Americans’ rate of stroke is about 1.5 to 2 times higher than non-Hispanic Whites — and that recognition of stroke symptoms is lowest among Hispanic Americans.
Researchers aimed to address this gap by teaching stroke awareness to young children who could then recognize an emergency at home with their parents.
“A stroke is a ‘brain attack’ and a stroke victim may not be able to identify or articulate that they are experiencing the stroke,” said Sherry Houston, executive director of the Stroke Awareness Foundation. “It is usually a family member or bystander who is able to identify the stroke symptoms and seek proper medical care.”
The Health Promotion Practice article provides preliminary results of a three-year study and details the Kids Identifying and Defeating Stroke (KIDS) project conducted in middle schools in Corpus Christi, Texas, where 54 percent of the residents are of Hispanic origin. The KIDS project divided 515 sixth-grade students into two groups, with those in the intervention group given four classes about stroke awareness each year during the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
“As part of the KIDS project, students were also given homework assignments that involved teaching their parents or other adult partners about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need to call 911 right away if these signs are witnessed,” said lead author Kathleen Conley, a professor of health education at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
The students took a pretest before the intervention classes and preliminary results showed that after the second year, students in the intervention group improved their stroke knowledge and their intent to call 911 upon witnessing a stroke. Their scores on the same test improved by “greater than or equal to 1” correct response.
“We are very encouraged by the results and would like to see more investigation in the area of teaching children about recognizing stroke and motivating them to call 911 immediately,” Conley said.
# # #
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Reach the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, at (202) 387-2829.
Health Promotion Practice, a bimonthly peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), publishes authoritative, peer-reviewed articles devoted to the practical application of health promotion and education. For more information, contact Laura Drouillard at (202) 408-9804 or LDrouillard@sophe.org.
Conley KM, et al. Kids Identify and Defeating Stroke (KIDS): Development and implementation of a multiethnic health education intervention to increase stroke awareness among middle school students and their parents. Health Promotion Practice 11(1), 2010.
If you smoke; quit. Cigarette smoking has been linked to buildup in fatty substances in the carotid artery, the main neck artery supplying blood to the brain. Blockage of this artery is the leading cause of stroke in Americans. Also, nicotine raises blood pressure, carbon monoxide from smoking reduces the amount of oxygen your blood can carry to the brain; and cigarette smoke makes your blood thicker and more likely to clot. Your doctor can recommend programs and medications that may help you quit smoking. By quitting, at any age, you also reduce your risk of lung disease, heart disease and a number of cancers including lung cancer.