Five minute read
On April 29 Boyz in The Hood director John Singleton passed away at the age of 51 due to complications from a stroke. The Oscar-winning director’s death follows closely on the heels of that of Beverly Hills 90210 actor Luke Perry, who was 52.
Though strokes primarily occur in older adults, the deaths of both men at such relatively young ages highlight the fact that a stroke can strike anyone. In fact, research shows that stroke is on the rise among younger adults. According to the National Stroke Association, there has been a 44% increase in the number of Americans between the ages of 18 – 65 hospitalized due to stroke over the last decade.
No matter what your age, it’s important to understand what a stroke is, what your risk factors are and the things you can do to prevent a stroke.
There are two types of stroke. The most common—about 80%--is an Ischemic stroke. This involves a clot that forms in the brain’s blood vessels, in blood vessels leading to the brain, or in blood vessels elsewhere in the body that blocks off the flow of blood to a part of the brain.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. Blood shoots out into the brain, damaging brain cells. Hemorrhagic strokes are typically a result of high blood pressure and aneurysms which tend to have a genetic component.
When either of the above types of stroke occur, it causes damage to the brain which can kill a person or severely debilitate them. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., killing 140,000 people a year. It is also the leading cause of disability among Americans, as it can leave survivors paralyzed or unable to communicate.
Although a stroke can occur at any age, there are certain risk factors that increase the chances of having one:
Lifestyle choices can also have a large impact on the chance of having a stroke. Among them:
If you suspect a stroke, don't delay: Each minute a stroke goes untreated, 1.9 million brain cells die, increasing the potential for disability and death.
You should consider consulting your health care provider immediately if you experience or observe any of these warning signs/symptoms:
Signs of a stroke can be different for different people. The F-A-S-T test is an easy way to remember them:
Quick treatment not only improves your chances of survival, but also may reduce complications. If you’ve had an ischemic stroke, you may be given a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Alternatively, the doctor may decide to remove the clot by threading a stent up the artery to grab the clot that caused the stroke.
After a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor needs to find and control the bleeding. After that, you may have a clamp procedure or a coil to seal an aneurysm.
To prevent a stroke, a healthy diet and moderate exercise are absolute musts. According to the American Stroke Association, a healthy level of physical activity for adults ages 18 to 65 should be at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week.
You can also use the following strategies to change the way you prepare your meals to help reduce your risk for stroke:
Other behavioral changes should include controlling alcohol use, stopping smoking, keeping diabetes under control, and managing high blood pressure.
Stroke affects everybody differently. Depending on how serious your stroke is, you may stay in hospital for anything from a few days to few months, and you may stay on the stroke unit or move to a rehabilitation ward. It depends on how much damage the stroke did and how quickly treatment was administered.
Many stroke survivors continue to improve over a long time, sometimes over a number of years. Recovery from stroke involves making changes in the physical, social and, emotional aspects of your life.
You will need to make changes to prevent additional strokes, as well as to facilitate your life-long recovery. The best defense against recurrent stroke is a good offense. Equip yourself with information and tips for preventing another stroke. Be aware of your symptoms and risk factors. Managing your health will help reduce the risk of recurrent stroke.
This setting allows you to view available services and providers associated with your preferred location. You can change this setting at any time.
Cookies are required to view location specific content.
We’ve developed a new tool on our website allowing you to see content most relevant to you and your preferred location. It’s our way of making the information you need, more personalized.
You’ll find this feature labeled “Set My Location” throughout the website. Most often, you’ll see it in the top left corner of every page.
You’ll also find a feature that allows you to set your location temporarily, as seen below.