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According to the American Stroke Association, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States is stroke.  How much do you know about strokes?

True or False: Men are more likely to suffer a stroke. 
False!  Women outnumber men when it comes to strokes, because women live to be older and therefore are more exposed.

True or False: Just like a heart attack, if you suspect you are having a stroke, you should immediately take an aspirin. False!  Many people lump heart attacks and stroke together, although they are two very different things.  Strokes are either defined as ischemic or hemorrhagic.  Ischemic strokes occur when blood flow to a certain part of the brain is compromised.  Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by a brain bleed.  You will not know what type of stroke you are experiencing at the time and aspirin can exacerbate a hemorrhagic stroke.

True or False: Strokes can be prevented. True!  Controlling and treating serious health conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use can cut your risk of stroke by as much as 80 percent.  Being overweight contributes to many of the risk factors associated with stroke, so weight-loss treatment is a must to decrease your risk.  This is another reason to seek weight-loss treatment and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

True or False: Strokes can occur at any age in life. True!  Although less than 10 percent of strokes occur in people under 50, they can still strike.  Unfortunately, many people believe that strokes are only for the elderly population and ignore or misinterpret the signs.  However, the signs of a stroke are the same, regardless of age or gender.

True or False: I know exactly what the signs are of a stroke. The answer depends on you.  The best way to be prepared is to know the “BE FAST” acronym below.  Remember, it is a myth that a stroke always begins with a debilitating headache.  It can happen suddenly over seconds or minutes and can hit with absolutely no warning or signs.

B – Balance or the loss of balance; sudden loss of coordination

E – Eyes or the loss of vision; double vision in one or both eyes; blurriness

F – Face or facial weakness, droopiness, usually on one side

A – Arm or arm weakness; can they keep both arms up

S – Speech or speech impairment; confusion

T – Time lost is brain lost; get immediate medical attention if any of these signs occur

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