Focusing on Women’s Health: A Head to Toe Assessment

Women and Strokewomen1

Stroke is a medical emergency and a leading cause of death in the U.S. It occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or, more commonly, when a blockage develops. Without treatment, cells in the brain quickly begin to die.

Each year, 700,000 people suffer a stroke. Five hundred thousand of these strokes are first occurrences, while the rest are repeat strokes.   Someone has a stroke in the United States every 45 seconds.  Some risk factors for stroke are hypertension, diabetes and smoking.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death for American women and twice as many women die of stroke than breast cancer every year. Stroke and heart disease will kill twice as many women as cancer. Here are some more interesting statistics about strokes in women:

  • Most women think stroke is a man’s disease. Men are more likely to have a stroke (57 percent of strokes are in men), but more women than men will actually die from stroke.
  • Stroke can happen to anyone at any age. More than 30 percent of strokes occur in women under the age of 65.
  • More women than men die from strokes, yet 30% of women cannot recognize a sign or symptom of stroke.

Symptoms of stroke usually come on suddenly, and should always be treated as a medical emergency. They include a sudden onset of any of the following:

  • Weakness of the face, arm, and/or leg on one side of body
  • Numbness in the face, arm, and/or leg one side of body
  • Inability to understand spoken language
  • Inability to speak
  • Inability to write
  • Vertigo and/or gait imbalance
  • Double vision
  • An unusually severe headache

The acronym FAST is an easy way to remember signs of stroke and what to do if you think a stroke has occurred. (The most important is to immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.) FAST stands for:

  • (F)ACE. Ask the person to smile. Check to see if one side of the face droops.
  • (A)RMS. Ask the person to raise both arms. See if one arm drifts downward.
  • (S)PEECH. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Check to see if words are slurred and if the sentence is repeated correctly.
  • (T)IME. If a person shows any of these symptoms, time is essential. It is important to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. Call 9-1-1. Act FAST.

This is a message from MorseLife Home Care.  For more information, call (561) 616-0707 or link to www.morselife.org.

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