Research has shown that stroke rates amongst American elders aged 65 and older, including those in the Lake and Cook County areas, has been steadily declining over the past three decades. Between 1987 and 2017, the rates have dropped by one-third per decade. However, Dr. Josef Coresh, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, is unable to pinpoint a specific reason why the decline has been so great.
Over the course of Dr. Coresh’s research, they found that fewer older adults were smokers, which is a major risk factor for stroke. And although other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, have become more common in recent years; medications and treatments for these conditions have also become more prevalent.
Although this decline is good news, Homewatch CareGivers still emphasizes the importance of being aware of the signs of a stroke and getting help immediately.
The most common signs of a stroke include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Abrupt loss of vision, strength, coordination, sensation and speech
- Sudden dimness of vision, especially in one eye
- Sudden and severe headache with no other cause followed by loss of consciousness
- Unexplained dizziness or sudden falls
Dr. Larry Goldstein, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, stressed the importance to get help as quickly as possible if a person is having a stroke. Minutes matter in treating a stroke. He states, “Don’t delay getting help. Time saved is brain saved.”
Use the FAST test to check if someone you suspect may be having a stroke:
Face : Smile and see if one side of the face droops
Arms : Raise both arms and see if one arm drops down
Speech : Say a short phrase and check for slurred or strange speech
Time : If the answer to ANY of the above is YES, call 911 immediately and write down the time when symptoms started
To read more on Dr. Coresh’s research, visit US News.
To find out more about what happens during a stroke, visit Homewatch CareGivers Resources.