Oregon Stroke Center Offers Stroke Awareness Tips

05/01/00    Portland, Ore.

Renowned Stroke Center Recognizes National Stroke Awareness Month This May

It strikes suddenly, without warning. Every minute of every day in the United States, someone experiences a stroke. The statistics can be staggering. Each year, nearly 160,000 Americans are killed. Stroke also is one of the leading causes of adult disability affecting four million people every year. That's why the Oregon Stroke Center, an alliance of physicians from Oregon Health Sciences University and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, is getting the word out about Stroke Awareness Month this May.

A stroke or "brain attack" cuts off vital blood and oxygen to portions of the brain. Symptoms include: a sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body; sudden confusion; double vision; problems with speech; headache and loss of balance. Taking quick action by calling 9-1-1 for medical help can sometimes lead to treatment that can reverse the effects of stroke. It also can save your life.

While there is no way to guarantee that you or a loved one will live a stroke-free life, there are actions you can take to reduce the risk. The Oregon Stroke Center offers the following tips:



  • Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. Have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
  • Stop Smoking. If you stop smoking today, your risk for stroke will drop over time.
  • Drink in moderation. Heavy drinking increases stroke risk. However, some studies have shown that a glass of wine or beer a day can be beneficial.
  • Lower your cholesterol. Having high cholesterol can put you at greater risk for heart disease, another important stroke risk factor.
  • Exercise daily. A brisk walk for as little as 30 minutes a day can provide health benefits.
  • Eat a low-sodium, low-fat diet. Lowering your sodium and fat intake can lower your blood pressure and decrease stroke risk.
  • Control diabetes. If you are a diabetic, you are at increased risk for stroke. Control of diabetes though nutrition and lifestyle changes is important.