Your Health: World Stroke Day - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Your Health: World Stroke Day

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An OSF expert and a stroke survivor chat about the ways strokes are preventable An OSF expert and a stroke survivor chat about the ways strokes are preventable

Today is World Stroke Day, and whether or not you have had a stroke, the likelihood that you or someone you love could have one, may be worth a look when you see the numbers below.  

Stroke is the #2 cause of death in the world and the #4 killer in the United states, according to the American Heart Association.

The word is used commonly, but do you really know what it is?

There are two types of strokes - the first are the most common...

According to Maureen Matthews of the OSF Neurological Institute, the most common is "an n ischemic stroke. A little clot or a piece of plaque in a clot blocks up a blood vessel and ends up causing death of brain tissue."

The second, she says, deals with an an abnormality of the blood vessel.

Matthews describes the deadly event,  "either an aneurysm or maybe just a blood vessel breaks open and bleeds into the brain tissue."

Both, Matthews says, cause an alarming number of people to experience a stroke each year.

That number is approximated at 800,000 a year with about 1 in 4 of those being recurring strokes."

Dawn Robinson, a stroke survivor recalls her own scary experience. 

"I couldn't speak at all. I didn't know anything," says Robinson.

She details the scary day she suffered a stroke and says if it weren't for her husband, she wouldn't have even known what happened. "When my husband came to me and said i had a stroke...i didn't have any idea."
But there is a system out there, that helps others identify stroke symptoms.

It's called the 'FAST' test. It's an acronym used as a mnemonic to help detect and enhance responsiveness to stroke victim needs.

F - (Face) Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A - (Arms) Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S - (Speech) Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T - (Time) If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Matthews says if a person cannot smile, if one arm doesn't seem as strong as the other, and if they are having trouble speaking, these are strong warning signs of a stroke. 

Finally, it's crucial to note the time all of this is taking place. That information will be used by healthcare personnel when they arrive to provide assistance.

The AHA along with other healthcare experts recommend people get to know their family health history to understand their likelihood of being at risk.

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