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Five Misconceptions About Stroke 

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By Richard M. Zweifler, MD, Sentara Chief of Neurology and neurologist with Sentara Medical Group.

 Richard M. Zweifler, MD
New findings released by the American Stroke Association show that strokes are no longer a concern only for older patients. Increasingly, patients 35 and younger are experiencing them.

Learn more about five stroke misconceptions that could save your life.

Myth 1: Stroke is an old person’s disease.
Fact:  New information released at the recent American Stroke Association conference shows strokes are increasing in younger Americans while dropping in older people (according to a nationwide study of stroke hospitalizations by age). Nationally, stroke rose a whopping 51 percent among men age 15 – 34 and 17 percent among women in the same age group.

Myth 2:   I can’t do anything to prevent a stroke. 
Fact:  The single most important thing you can do to prevent stroke is to control your blood pressure. That means you have to know what your blood pressure is, know what’s normal, and partner with your physician to properly treat high blood pressure, if you have it.

Myth 3: Ibuprofen decreases your risk of stroke.
Fact:  While some pain medications are interchangeable to reduce pain, aspirin is the only over-the-counter medicine known to reduce the risk of stroke in those who have had a prior stroke due to its blood thinning qualities. These are NOT qualities in all pain medications.

Myth 4:  Because my mom had a stroke, I know I’ll have one. 
Family history plays a part in your risk for stroke, but most of the things that increase stroke risk can be changed.
The single most important thing any of us can do to prevent stroke is to be sure our blood pressure is controlled. Other steps you can take to reduce your risk are to treat high cholesterol, exercise, achieve a normal body mass index range, and stop smoking.

Myth 5:  If I just lie down, these symptoms will go away.
Time is BRAIN. If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke, think and act FAST. The symptoms of stroke include:

F = Facial droop
A = Arm drift or weakness
S = Slurred speech
T = Time to call 911

For those who have had what’s known as a TIA or mini-stroke, you are at increased risk of having a full stroke. So if the numbness or tingling goes away, still seek care fast. Every minute counts for the treatment of stroke, and your quality of life to follow. Stroke victims have at most 4.5 hours to get a clot busting drug to help reduce the stroke’s effects. Understanding these misconceptions could change your life.

Related Links:
American Stroke Association
Sentara Neurosciences
Sentara Neurology Specialists
Sentara Stroke Care

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