May is national Stroke Awareness Month and earlier in the month Being Latino was invited to participate in a blogger teleconference with a leading doctor in Stroke awareness Dr. Jose Merino, a staff clinician with the Section on Stroke Diagnostics and Therapeutics at the NINDS.
Increasing stroke awareness among the Latino community in America is the goal as well as prevention and providing the necessary information and resources to help them to lead longer, healthier lives . We were able to ask Dr. Merino about stroke prevention within the Latino community.
According to the CDC, stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States. Over 800,000 people die in the U.S. each year from cardiovascular disease and strokes. Latinos are more likely to die following a stroke than are whites. I also learned that people who live in the Southern states are more at risk from suffering a stroke.
What is a stroke?
A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.
What are some of the signs of someone having a stroke?
Sudden NUMBNESS or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden CONFUSION, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
Sudden TROUBLE SEEING in one or both eyes.
Sudden TROUBLE WALKING, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden SEVERE HEADACHE with no known cause.
Can you speak a little more about prevention?
If you have risk factors – get them under control
Below is the Risk Factor percentage of U.S. adults with stroke risk factors in 2005–2006.
|High Blood Pressure||30.5|
Can you tell us a bit more about the two types of stroke?
Ischemic – a blood clot blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. About 80 percent of all strokes are ischemic.
Hemorragic – a blood vessel in the brain breaks and bleeds into the brain. About 20 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic.
If you think you or someone is showing signs of having a stroke, Act in Time and Call 911. The importance of calling 911 when a stroke is suspected is reinforced because some Spanish-speakers are not comfortable with their English, Dr. Merino encourages viewers to simply say the word “stroke” when on the phone with the 911 operator.