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Fast action is key to preventing strokes in seniors

June 13, 2016


June is National Stroke Awareness Month, and more than 75 percent of all people who suffer a stroke are ages 65 and above.

According to the American Heart Association, a stroke happens when blood vessels are weakened and rupture or a clot prevents blood from traveling to the brain. A stroke occurs about every 40 seconds, affecting almost 800,000 people a year. About 140,000 people die annually from a stroke in the U.S.

Seniors are at a high risk of suffering a stroke, as the risk of having a stroke doubles each decade after 55 and strokes make up about one out of every 17 deaths each year. About 15 million people die across the globe from a stroke every year.

The risk of having a stroke is even greater in black people over the age of 65.

APHASIA

And while a stroke may not be the leading cause of death in the U.S., it is the leading cause of serious long-term disability.

One of the most common side effects from a stroke is aphasia. Aphasia is a language disorder that affects one’s ability to communicate. People with aphasia may have trouble getting words out, difficulty finding words, trouble understanding others, problems with math and reading and may not be able to process commands.

The results of aphasia can be treated with long-term speech therapy.

ACT FAST

The leading cause of most strokes is hypertension or high blood pressure. This can be treated with medicine and can help prevent a stroke. Strokes can also be treated with blood clotting medicine, especially if the victim is treated in the early stage of a stroke.

The warning signs of a stroke include a drooping face, weakness in the arms and difficulty speaking. The National Heart Association recommends calling E-911 if you see someone experiencing those symptoms.

 

 


McClatchy-Tribune Information Services