What you can do to prevent strokes

May 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
When you think of someone having a stroke, you probably picture someone elderly. But a stroke can hit at a very young age. Susan Fobes, spokesperson fro the American Stroke Association, and Dr. Kenneth Fox, chief of neurology at Kaiser Permanente, debunk some mythis and describe the warning signs.

May is Stroke Month, the perfect time raise awareness and stroke and bust some common stroke myths. Susan Fobes is a fit and active former marathon runner who had a stroke at 39. Susan's stroke followed an operation that she had for a running injury. She has fully recovered but the stroke caused her to re-think almost everything about her life and follow her passion to be in the wine industry. She realized that you can't know the future so it's important to create the life you want to live today. That's a good lesson for all of us. Susan gave up a high-powered career in sales management for a new career doing something she loves: teaching others about wine. She took classes in wine at the Culinary Institute of America, moved to Napa and is now managing the wine program at Michael Chiarello's NapaStyle in Yountville.

Dr. Kenneth Fox is is Chief of Neurology at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco and Medical Director of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Stroke Center

Myths About Stroke

Myth 1: Stroke is rare

Fact: Stroke is the number three cause of death among men and women in the US , and the number one cause of disability

Myth 2: Stroke is something that happens to older people

Fact: Stroke can occur at any age.

Myth 3: There is nothing that can be done to prevent strokes - they just happen

Fact: Actually, many strokes CAN be prevented.

Myth 4: Stroke cannot be treated

Fact: Years ago that may have been true but not today. There are treatments for stroke, but they are only available in hospitals and time is of the essence. That's why it's so important to call 9-1-1 in the event of a stroke.

Warning signs of a stroke:

· Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

· Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

· Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

· Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

· Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Learn to recognize a stroke. Time lost is brain lost. Today there are treatments that may reduce the risk of damage from the most common type of stroke, but only if you get help quickly - within three hours of your first symptoms.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience these warning signs.

For more information see, go to the American Stroke Association Web site at www.strokeassociation.org.

LINK: Understand your possible risk factors for stroke, and learn which ones you can control to reduce your odds


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