Here are some steps you can take to guard against the possibility of a stroke occurring:
- Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke and heart disease. 120/80 or less is optimal.
- Find out if you have atrial fibrillation
- Find a healthy outlet for stress, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
- Exercise regularly at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Eat plenty of low-fat, high-fiber foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
- Don’t smoke. If you do, quit!
- If you have narrowed arteries, your doctor may suggest anti-clotting medications such as aspirin or a prescription drug to reduce the chance of clots. Surgical procedures, such as carotid endarterectomies and carotid stenting, are sometimes used to widen narrowed vessels in the neck.
- If you have diabetes, take steps to control it. This disease can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of stroke.
- If you drink alcohol, drink moderately.
- Know the symptoms of stroke.
A local man survived the type of stroke that normally kills 80 percent of its victims. He’s doing so well, he just moved to Europe and is enjoying life to its fullest. It’s been three and a half years since Ken Harrawood suffered a stroke. It hit while he was driving to Y-12 for his first day of work with Bechtel. He now lives in Manchester, England.
Adam Hill gets the tools in place for the next life-saving surgery in the interventional radiology lab at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. As lead tech, Hill knows this place like the back of his hand. He never dreamed he’d be a patient receiving treatment here, suffering from a ruptured aneurysm, like so many patients he’s helped treat.
Since recovering from a stroke, Paul DeWitt appreciates simple pleasures that are easily taken for granted. He grasps a cup of coffee. He smiles and laughs. He even appreciates the ability to whistle.