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Posts Tagged ‘stroke’

Happy American Heart Month

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Allied Universal Heart ImageEach February, the American Heart Association marks the month dedicated to love as the time to call attention to heart health. Although the iconic romantic symbol of a heart bears no resemblance to the physical organ that pumps blood to human tissue, the association is obvious: we should do whatever it takes to help loved ones stay healthy. And to that end, heart disease prevention is paramount.

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which restricts blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow can lead to a heart attack. Here are some of the most common types of heart conditions:

  • Aortic Aneurysm – a bulge in a section of theaorta, the body’s main artery. The aorta carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Because the section with the aneurysm is overstretched and weak, it can burst. If the aorta bursts, it can cause serious bleeding that can quickly lead to death.
  • Atrial Fibrillation – often called AFib or AF, is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way. When a person has AFib, the normal beating in the upper chambers of the heart (the two atria) is irregular, and blood doesn’t flow as well as it should from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart (the two ventricles). AFib may occur in brief episodes, or it may be a permanent condition.
  • Cardiomyopathy – The normal muscle in the heart can thicken, stiffen, thin out, or fill with substances the body produces that do not belong in the heart muscle. As a result, the heart muscle’s ability to pump blood is reduced, which can lead to irregular heartbeats, the backup of blood into the lungs or rest of the body, and heart failure.
  • Congestive Heart Failure – Does not mean theheart has stopped working. Rather, it means that the heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal. With heart failure, blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate, and pressure in the heart increases. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs.
  • Coronary Artery Disease – This happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls. This buildup is called atherosclerosis. As it grows, less blood can flow through the arteries. As a result, the heart muscle can’t get the blood or oxygen it needs. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
  • Heart Attack – This happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can’t get oxygen. If blood flow isn’t restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die.
  • High Blood Pressure – A common disease in which blood flows through blood vessels (arteries) at higher than normal pressures. Sometimes called “the silent killer,” uncontrolled high blood pressure (HBP) can injure or kill because HBP has no symptoms. So victims may not be aware that their arteries, heart and other organs are being damaged.Allied Universal BP
  • Pulmonary Hypertension – High blood pressure that occurs in the arteries in the lungs. It is a different measurement altogether from systemic blood pressure, reflecting the pressure the heart must exert to pump blood from the heart through the arteries of the lungs.
  • Stroke – A stroke is a “brain attack,” which can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.

The best way to prepare yourself and loved ones to handle heart-related health problems is to take care of yourself:Allied Universal Weight Mngmt

Heart Attack Symptoms

  • Chest discomfort (It usually lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and returns. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body

Allied Universal FAST StrokeFAST (Stroke Symptoms)

  • Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the victim unable to speak, or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1– If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get him or her to the hospital immediately.

Cardiac Arrest Symptoms

  • Loss of responsiveness
  • Loss of normal breathing

Remember that safety is a daily priority, not just during Heart Health Month. So be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

National Stroke Awareness Month

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Stroke Assoc FiredogSince May is National Stroke Awareness Month, we wanted to make sure our readers and subscribers know how to avoid a stroke, the way to recognize when it happens, and what to do.

Facts about Stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, causing brain tissue to die. A stroke often starts as a sudden feeling of numbness or weakness on half of the body.Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 Americans each year. On average, one American dies from stroke every four minutes. There are two types of stroke, both of which can cause brain cells to die quickly. An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain. Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke.

A “mini-stroke,” or transient ischemic attack (TIA), occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted only briefly. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Despite the fact that the risk of stroke increases with age, strokes can occur at any age, In fact, one-third of people hospitalized for stroke in 2006 were younger than age 65.

Facts about Strokes

  • On average, one American dies from stroke every four minutes.
  • Each year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.
  • About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
  • About 185,000 strokes—nearly one of four—strike people who have had a previous stroke.
  • About 87% of all strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked.
  • Stroke costs the U.S. an estimated $36.5 billion each year. (This includes the cost of health care services, medications and missed days of work.)
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.

Stroke firedog

How to Prevent a Stroke

Although nothing can definitively prevent stroke, you can significantly reduce your risk factors by adopting a healthy lifestyle which includes:

  • Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Add fiber-rich foods to your daily routine.
  • Limit sodium intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your Body Mass Index on the CDC website.
  • Stay physically active. Adults should engage in moderate intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • If you smoke, stop. If you don’t smoke—don’t start. Cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk of stroke.
  • Limit alcohol use. Women should have no more than one drink per day; men no more than two drinks per day.
  • Prevent and/or treat medical conditions.
  • Ask your doctor to check your cholesterol at least once every five years.
  • Monitor and control your blood pressure.
  • If you have diabetes or are at risk for developing it, closely monitor your blood sugar levels.

Symptoms of Stroke—and What to Do

If you think you are having a stroke, call 911 immediately! Patients who arrive at an emergency room within three hours of the onset of their first symptoms tend to be healthier three months following a stroke than those whose care was delayed.

The five most common signs and symptoms of stroke are sudden:

  1. Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg.
  2. Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others.
  3. Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  4. Dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination.
  5. Severe headache with no known cause.

To help identify symptoms of stroke, the National Stroke Association has come up with an acronym: FAST

Face Drooping

Arm Weakness

Speech Difficulty

Time to call 9-1-1

For more information about preventing and/or treating strokes, check out these websites:

The National Stroke Association

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

The Mayo Clinic

The American Heart Association

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

The National Institutes of Health

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