7 Tips on Reducing Stroke for National Stroke Awareness Month
A Healthy Lifestyle Is the Key to Managing Your Stroke Risk
Caused when blood flow to the brain becomes blocked or interrupted, a stroke is a life-threatening medical event that can have serious consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone has a stroke every 40 seconds in the U.S., making stroke one of the leading causes of disability and death nationwide. Strokes also kill over 150,000 people every year, comprising 1 out of every 19 deaths related to heart issues. These are just a few of the reasons that the CDC has chosen to designate May as National Stroke Awareness Month.
Although strokes can happen to any age group at any time, it is possible to reduce your risk of a disabling or fatal stroke by making some simple lifestyle changes: In fact, up to 80% of strokes are considered preventable. This month, our attorneys who are also medical doctors have compiled some resources to help you reduce your risk of a stroke.
Here are 7 tips for reducing your risk of a serious stroke:
- Avoid excessive sodium. Above all else, it’s important to pay attention to the foods that you eat and avoid those with a high sodium or salt content. Because salt contributes to high blood pressure – which is considered the single most important treatable factor for stroke – it’s best to stay clear of overly-processed and salty foods.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Low in sodium and heart-healthy, fruits and vegetables (particularly leafy greens like spinach and kale) can help round out your diet and reduce the overall risk of a stroke.
- Stay physically active. Exercise is another key component in the battle against stroke, especially activities like running and swimming that challenge the heart and strengthen the entire cardiovascular system. It’s recommended that you spend at least 5 days a week doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.
- Stop all tobacco use. Whether you smoke, vape, or chew tobacco, it’s important to quit as soon as possible to lower your risk of a stroke. This is because nicotine – the main addictive compound in tobacco – elevates blood pressure and restricts blood vessels, making it much easier for them to become blocked.
- Manage underlying conditions with your doctor. Chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease may dramatically increase your risk of a stroke. Make sure to discuss any stroke concerns with your healthcare provider and discuss specific, targeted ways you can reduce the risk.
- Learn about your family history. Strokes can and do run in families, passed on through our genes. Take the time to learn about your family’s medical history so that you can know your personal risk factors and be prepared.
- Stay informed about your medications. Some medications can increase your risk of stroke even with short-term use. Whenever you get a new medication, be sure to ask them detailed questions about how it will affect your risk of stroke, especially if you are already vulnerable in other ways.
How Medical Malpractice Can Lead to Stroke
Although you may be able to reduce your overall risk of a stroke with a healthy lifestyle and mindful planning with your doctor, there are some unfortunate cases where a physician or surgeon, may contribute to a stroke event through avoidable medical errors. For example, you may be rushed to the emergency room with a treatable stroke only to receive substandard care from your attending physician, causing you to develop life-altering disabilities that could have been prevented.
Some other ways that medical malpractice can contribute to a serious stroke:
- Failing to diagnose a stroke correctly in the ER
- Prescription errors and dangerous drug interaction
- Poor or delayed ordering of testing and treatment for blood clots
- Misuse of Heparin (a blood thinner) leading to brain bleeding and stroke
- Failing to explain the risks of high blood pressure or create a management plan for the patient
- Surgical errors, such as mismanagement of low blood pressure (hypotension) during a surgery
- Failing to act with urgency when presented with clear stroke symptoms
As doctor-lawyers, we are intimately acquainted with the devastating ways in which strokes can affect the human body – and the ways in which medical error can take a toll, too. With experience and skill, our team at Cullan & Cullan can help you investigate if a medical error contributed to your stroke injuries.
Do you believe that you or your loved one may have suffered a stroke because of negligence or medical error? Call our doctor-lawyers at Cullan & Cullan at (816) 253-8606 today for a free consultation in Kansas City and beyond.