Did you know that strokes, also known as “brain attacks,” strike as many as 800,000 adults in the U.S. alone each year, taking the lives of over 100,000 of them and often leaving unalterable effects for their survivors? Because the risk of stroke is twice as great in those over age 55, we at Nightingale Homecare, the top rated Arizona home care agency, want you to be aware of stroke risk factors and symptoms to watch for so you can help keep your senior loved ones safe and well.
Stroke Risk Factors:
In addition to age, men, African-Americans, and those with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and/or a family history of stroke are at an elevated risk for stroke. Although none of these factors are within our control, we can all reduce stroke risk in the following ways:
- Keep blood pressure in check. High blood pressure (hypertension) is the number one cause of stroke, so test your senior loved ones’ blood pressure often. (Nightingale nurses can help with this, right in the comfort of home.) Be sure the doctor is consulted if blood pressure readings are elevated, as a variety of medications are available to help maintain appropriate numbers.
- Quit smoking. Those who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from a stroke, among a number of other serious health concerns. Second-hand smoke from other smokers is also a stroke risk factor. For seniors who are currently smokers, it’s never too late to stop, and the benefits to be gained are tremendous! Within a matter of a few years of quitting, stroke risk is reduced as much as if the senior had never smoked in the first place.
- Watch weight and cholesterol. Those who are overweight or have an elevated cholesterol level of over 200 are at a greater risk for stroke, as well as high blood pressure and other concerns. Staying active and making healthy eating choices are great ways to minimize stroke risk – and Nightingale Homecare caregivers can help with both of these goals!
If any of these signs are noticed, particularly if more than one is apparent, call 911 for immediate medical assistance. Time is of the essence in minimizing the risk of permanent damage, with the goal of getting treatment for the person within the first 60 minutes. Note that with a stroke, these symptoms will come on suddenly:
- Paralysis or numbness in the arm, leg or face, especially if on only one side of the body
- Dizziness/loss of balance
- Confusion and/or trouble with speaking
- Blurriness of vision
- Severe headache, often in tandem with vomiting
If your senior loved one has suffered a stroke, turn to the trusted Arizona home care agency care team at Nightingale Homecare. We can help seniors in a variety of ways to enhance quality of life and to remain safe and comfortable. You can reach us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.