African-American Women Are at a High Risk of Stroke, But Prevention Gives Hope

African-American Women Are at a High Risk of Stroke, But Prevention Gives Hope

By Katrina Woolfolk

By the time you finish reading this article, over a dozen people in the U.S. will have had a stroke, according to The Internet Stroke Center. What is even more frightening is the fact that African-American women are twice as likely to suffer from a stroke than white women.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), African-American women are more likely to have a stroke than any other group of women in the United States. The main risk factors associated with stroke like high blood pressure, sodium sensitivity, sickle cell anemia, obesity and diabetes are more prevalent in African-American women, and many of us have some of these health problems without knowing it. 

May is Stroke Awareness Month, which is why Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC), a certified comprehensive stroke center, wants to be sure our community members know the facts and warning signs of stroke. Not only is it important to know the signs of a stroke, it’s also imperative that you act fast! If you, or someone you know, experiences these symptoms the most important thing is to get help quickly:

An easy to remember tip from the American Stroke Association is to think "FAST":

·      Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

·      Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Or is one arm unable to rise up?

·      Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?

·      Time. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

While stroke can be frightening there is some good news, too—up to 80% of strokes can be prevented, says the CDC. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways you can prevent stroke, here are a few recommendations that could help prevent stroke in your life:

Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes are key. Exercising regularly and managing stress, as well as maintaining a healthy weight by limiting sodium and alcohol can also help. Eating fruits and vegetables is a big plus, adding in olive oil, nuts, and whole grains, too. Lowering cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet can also reduce the plaque in your arteries and improve health. Lastly, smoking raises the risk of stroke - quitting tobacco significantly lowers the risk for you and those you live with who breathe in secondhand smoke.

One of the best ways to keep your health risks low and your body in check is to pay a regular visit to your doctor.

There is hope when it comes to stroke prevention, and it starts with you! Act fast and use preventative measures. Your quick reaction and knowledge could save a life.

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