Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke, and 80% of those strokes are preventable. In honor of American Stroke Month this May, here are 5 things you should know about strokes:

  1. Stroke risk increases with age, but young adults, children, and even unborn babies can suffer strokes. If one of your parents had an ischemic stroke before 65, you are at 3X the risk of suffering one yourself.
  2. High blood pressure is stroke’s public enemy #1. 3 out of 4 people who suffer first strokes have high blood pressure.
  3. Stroke targets by color. African Americans have nearly 2x the risk for a first-ever stroke than white people.
  4. Stroke is largely treatable. Clot-busting drugs and medical devices have made stroke largely treatable, but every second counts. The faster you are treated, the more likely you are to recover without permanent disability.
  5. Friends usually save friends from stroke. Learn to recognize the warning signs of stroke. F.A.S.T. Face drooping; Arm weakness; Speech Difficulty; Time to call 911.

stroke hero

Take control of your health and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by making these lifestyle changes:

  1. Eat heart-healthy foods. Eat more foods high in fiber such as brown rice, multigrain bread, and whole-wheat pasta. Add more fruits and vegetables in every meal. Limit salty and fried foods.
  2. Get moving. Physical activity can help reduce heart disease. Be active every day for 30 minutes, five days a week. There are many ways to get moving such as gardening, dancing, walking, or biking, and DPR Fitness Center are free for D.C. residents to use in 2016!
  3. Know your blood pressure numbers. Uncontrolled blood pressure causes your heart to work harder than normal. See your doctor to check your numbers, find out what a healthy blood pressure is for you, and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
  4. Quit smoking. Smoking can increase your risk for heart disease and further damage your health and the health of those around you. To find help to stop smoking, call DC’s Quit Line at 1 (800) QUIT NOW (784-8669) for support programs near you or contact your insurance.