Welcome, Medicare Nation! My guest today is Dr. Ralph Sacco, who is the Executive Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Miami. He is also the Chief of Neurology Services at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Sacco has published extensively in the areas of stroke prevention, treatment, risk factors, human genetics, and stroke recurrence. He is the recipient of numerous awards and has lectured at national and international meetings and conferences. He was the first neurologist to serve as president of the American Heart Association and serves as the president-elect of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Sacco is here to give us valuable information about strokes and stroke prevention. Join us!
“I’ve been the Chairman of Neurology since 2007. Our department has grown and is ranked 15th in NIH funding. We are leading the way in treating various neurological diseases.”
“Stroke is a huge public health issue, especially as our population ages. About 795,000 strokes occur each year, which is one every 40 seconds! A stroke is like a heart attack in the brain. In a stroke, the brain is injured by bleeding or some other problem with blood vessels. The warning signs are often missed, but our current awareness campaign uses the acronym FAST to help people remember:
F-Face-Drooping on one side
A-Arm-Weakness in one arm
T-Time-Call 911 immediately!
Other common symptoms are numbness and tingling on one side, severe sudden headache, and difficulty walking.”
“Heart attacks usually allow a little more time for treatment than the brain does. With a stroke, you MUST get to a stroke center immediately. TIME IS BRAIN! A clotbuster drug can be used with success in blood vessel blockages up to 4.5 hours after the stroke begins.”
“No, some strokes—about 15%--are bleeding strokes. Aspirin can make it worse. We advise calling 911 and getting to a treatment center. We can use drugs and catheters to remove clots up to six hours after stroke onset. This improves outcomes tremendously.”
“Exactly—the longer we wait in opening that artery, the less chance we have of total recovery. Some recovery can happen between 6-18 hours, but it’s more difficult. Too many people ignore symptoms, and then it’s too late.”
“Most symptoms occur on one side of the body since one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. Everyone should know FAST and know how to activate the 911 call.”
“Diet is a big factor of ideal cardiovascular health. The AHA estimates that less than 1% of people have ideal cardiovascular health. There are five key components:
Fruits and Vegetables: 4.5 cups each day
Fish: 2 servings each week
Fiber-rich Whole Grain: 3 servings each day
Lower your sodium intake: Sodium increases blood pressure, and high blood pressure is THE single leading modifiable risk factor for stroke. Most people get 3500 mg/day when the recommended limit is only 1500 mg/day!
Limit sugar-sweetened beverages: This increases the risk for diabetes.”
“Remember, what’s good for heart health is good for brain health, too. The AHA lists seven key factors, called ‘Life’s Simple Seven’:
“Walking is a great exercise. Just 75-100 minutes of walking over a week’s time can really help in the battle for ideal health.”
The FAST app for your smartphone is now available!
Do you have questions or feedback? I’d love to hear it!
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