Researchers are continuing to report significant progress in their efforts to reduce the nation’s rate of stroke deaths, but they still have a long way to go.
According to the American Heart Association, more than 137,000 people die of a stroke per year. About 60 percent occur among females.
Although stroke is still the nation’s fourth-leading killer, the AHA noted that the death rate from strokes fell 33.5 percent between 1995 and 2005, while the number of actual stroke deaths fell by 18.4 percent.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells are compromised.
Possible symptoms of a stroke include:
- Numbness or weakness in legs, arms or face
- Facial changes
- Difficulty speaking
- Labored breathing
- Blurred vision
- Loss of balance, coordination or dizziness
- Sudden and severe headache
- Loss of consciousness
If a stroke occurs, you will be taken to the emergency room at your local hospital where further screening tests will be carried out. You should then be taken to an acute stroke unit, which has a range of trained professionals who are experienced in stroke care. You should have a series of medical tests at hospital as soon as possible to show where the stroke is, how serious it is, and what caused it.
The sooner these tests are carried out the better, because some treatment is only effective if given within a short period of time after a stroke, according to the Stroke Association.
A Mayo Clinic study announced a regionally-based stroke care system that quickly gets patients the crucial, clot-busting medication their lives could depend upon. The Mayo Clinic also provides a fact sheet detailing stroke risks and warning signs.
“A disappointingly low proportion of Americans who experience acute stroke have timely access to stroke expertise and treatment,” said Dr. Bart Demaerschalk of the Mayo Clinic.
Strokes can even affect young and healthy people. Considering this and other medical risks, it’s important to invest in a life insurance policy that provides loved ones with long-term financial stability.