Learn how to reduce your risk factors this Stroke Awareness Month
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - May is Stroke Awareness Month, and according to the CDC, about 795,000 Americans have a stroke every year.
To many in Baton Rouge, May means warmer weather and get-togethers outdoors like crawfish boils and BBQs. But the food at those get-togethers adds a lot of salt to your diet.
“We do have a high prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease,” said Ochsner Family Medicine Dr. Rachael Kermis.
She said both contribute to an increased risk of stroke, or a life-threatening condition when part of your brain doesn’t have enough blood flow. Kermis said diet plays a big role.
“If we have food that is high in cholesterol or anything that’s going to make blood pressure rise up, so high sodium, all of that can increase your risk of having a stroke,” she said.
As more people come in with high blood pressure this season, she encourages others to take advantage of the warmer weather and focus on physical activity and fresh produce that’s prevalent this time of year.
“Making sure that if we have some of that good Louisiana food, we balance it out with some fresh fruits and vegetables and limit that salt,” said Kermis.
And if you think someone is having a stroke – act fast.
“If you see someone who’s not acting right and not their normal self, you do want to look and consider potentially stroke as something that might be going on with them,” said Kermis.
Look for facial asymmetry, arm weakness, slurred speech and the last time the person was normal.
“That helps when you call 911 to give us information on where they need to go for treatment and what is that timeframe and how quickly things have to be processed,” she added.
Remember that thinking fast can save a life.
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