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Around Our Town: Wyoming Medical Center

Wyoming Medical Center, Joint Commission Certified in the treatment of stroke, encourages you to learn how you can take control of your health during National Stroke Awareness Month.

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05/01/2012 - Learn How to Help Prevent a Stroke

About 700,000 Americans will have a stroke this year—and nearly 164,000 of them will die, according to the American Heart Association. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading risk factor for stroke, but nearly one-third of people with high blood pressure aren't aware they have it.

When blood pressure is high, blood pumps harder than it should, straining the vessels of the circulatory system. When the increased pressure either blocks or breaks vessel walls, stopping blood flow or causing blood to leak into the brain, a stroke can occur.

To reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke:

• Understand your risk factors. Many of these,

including smoking, drinking, obesity, and high cholesterol, can be controlled with lifestyle changes.

• Adopt a healthy diet. A low-fat, low-salt regimen that includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables can reduce elevated blood pressure and eliminate or decrease the need for blood pressure medication.

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• Get your blood pressure checked annually. High blood pressure has no symptoms, so it is especially important to schedule a test if you haven't had one recently.

• Slim down. Losing even ten pounds can make a difference in blood pressure levels.

Learn the Signals of Stroke

It has been called a "brain attack." Stroke strikes suddenly, often with these warning signs:

• Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

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• Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

• Trouble seeing in one or both eyes

• Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

• Severe headache with no known cause

If you notice one or more of these signs, don't wait, even if they go away. Immediately dial 911 so an ambulance can be quickly sent for you. Do the same if you're with someone who may be having stroke symptoms. Insist on taking prompt action, and don't take no for an answer.

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