Stroke is preventable. Stroke is treatable. Stroke is curable.
The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize Oct. 29 as World Stroke Day to raise awareness worldwide. Stroke is the No. 1 cause of preventable disability and the No. 4 cause of death in the United States.
Mercy Clinic Neurologist Tariq J. Alam, M.D., offers these reminders for patients and physicians to identify risk factors and reduce chances of stroke.
Know your blood pressure, and if it is elevated, it needs to come down
Maintain a healthy weight and diet
Know your cholesterol numbers
Recognize and seek treatment for symptoms of atrial fibrillation
Get a sleep study to determine risk for sleep apnea
Check Vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels once a year
"Uncontrolled hypertension can cause both types of strokes," Dr. Alam said. An ischemic stroke is caused by a clot that restricts the flow of blood to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is a ruptured blood vessel that prevents flow to the brain. A TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini stroke is caused by a temporary clot.
While risk factors such as age, race, gender and family history cannot be controlled, Dr. Alam said about 80 percent of strokes are preventable.
"We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones," he said. "Anything treatable or preventable should not be overlooked."