Entries in May (1)


National Stroke Awareness Month: How to Cut Your Risks

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- May is National Stroke Awareness Month and Consumer Reports has identified several strategies for preventing strokes -- such as lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, reining in diabetes, cutting salt, trimming your waist and light drinking. 

Consumer Reports Health editor Dr. Orly Avitzur says the most important thing you can do to prevent a stroke is to get your blood pressure checked regularly -- at least every two years and more often if you're over the age of 50.

A neurologist, Dr. Avitzur, says checking your LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels is important.

"Getting your LDL level checked, certainly in all men who are older than 35 and women who are older than 45, that are at risk for heart disease, should get a complete lipid profile at least every five years."

Avitzur adds that light drinking is actually good for you.  If you're a man, you should consume no more than two drinks a day.  If you're a woman, no more than one drink a day.  However, it is unclear how many ounces these drinks are. 

"It's unclear -- the point being that we don't want someone to drink heavily," Avitzur says. "And I do have a lot of patients who, you know, might consume a six pack of beer on the weekend and think, you know, they were told it's okay to drink.  But that's not really what we mean."

It's estimated that someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds.  If you think someone may be having a stroke, remember the term "FAST." 

FACE: Ask the person to smile and check if one side droops;

ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms and see if one drifts downward;

SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase and check for slurring;

TIME: If you see any of these signs, call 911 fast.

"Traditionally it's been a three-hour window from the onset of symptoms to the ability to use a clot-busting medication," Avitzur says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio