World Stroke Day is October 29. This very important day gives us an opportunity to remind —and re-educate– ourselves, our family and our friends about factors that increase the risk of suffering a stroke. This day also provides an opportunity to learn the warning signs, treatments after stroke care and best practices for prevention.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood vessels carrying oxygen to the brain are blocked. The lack of oxygen causes brain cells to die, affecting areas of the body controlled by those brain cells. (Nat’l Heart, Lung, Blood Institute, NIH).

What is a silent stroke?

 A silent stroke interrupts the flow of blood in a part of the brain that does not control any vital functions. The damage, though significant, is too small to produce any symptoms, but can lead to increased cognitive impairment. Most people rarely know they have had one. Research seems to indicate that over 30% of adults over 70 have experienced a silent stroke. (Harvard Publishing, Harvard Medical School.)

What can put you at risk?

  1. High Blood Pressure. Also, known as the “silent killer”, high blood pressure can be treated and managed –when detected early. Getting your blood pressure checked on a regular basis is a good health practice.
  2. Diabetes. Regular visits to your doctor include blood tests which will help determine your risk.
  3. Heart Disease.
  4. Smoking. The evidence is clear, smoking is a risk factor for, not only a stroke but for many other diseases as you age. If you are a smoker ask your doctor for a program to help you stop. New programs are proving quite successful.
  5. Age/Gender. The risk of a stroke increases as one ages, with men at a slightly higher risk. Women who suffer a stroke however, have a higher risk of dying.
  6. Family History. Your risk goes up if you have a close family member who has had a stroke or a TIA (mini stroke).
  7. High Cholesterol levels.

What can you do to prevent a stroke?

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Diet and good weight management can decrease your stroke risk. There are many new diet programs that fit your lifestyle and food preferences to help you find a weight loss program that will help you succeed.
  2. Exercise. Regular exercise has a variety of benefits, these include controlling blood sugar levels, helping circulation and decreasing stress. You can find a variety of exercise programs at your neighborhood recreation center, senior center, or local YMCA. And, don’t forget—exercise can be as easy as slipping on a good pair of exercise shoes and walking thirty minutes around the mall or your neighborhood. Don’t’ forget a steps counter to help you keep track of your progress.
  3. Stress Management. Research into mindfulness and meditation are showing favorable results when it comes to reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. Try a class, or download an app for your phone to experience the benefits.

        (Nat’l Heart, Lung, Blood Institute, NIH)

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

Sudden onset of any of these symptoms might indicate that someone is having a stroke: Difficulty speaking or comprehending, confusion, inability to raise both arms in the air, difficulty seeing–blurry or obstructed vision, sudden onset of a headache, dizziness, difficulty with balance. (Nat’l Heart, Lung, Blood Institute, NIH)

A quick way to remember the symptoms is to remember FAST.

FACE– is the face droopy, can the person smile?

ARMS–can the person lift both arms in the air?

SPEECH–Is speech clear, can the person understand what you are saying

TIME–Time is critical so act quickly to get the person medical care.

Call 911 immediately. A stroke is always an emergency requiring immediate treatment. (

After Stroke Care

Stroke survivors can find many changes to daily life, often requiring rehabilitation, daily activity assistance and supportive therapies to help rebuild lost skills.

(Harvard Publishing Harvard Medical School)


CarePlus has a Stroke Program- for more information click here.