What sacrifice would you make to save your motherâ€™s life? Would you jump in front of a car, attempt to fight off a great white shark, or take a bullet from a sniper? With Motherâ€™s Day already here, Iâ€™ve taken the time to reflect on the importance of family and health during American Stroke Month. Saving your motherâ€™s life hopefully doesnâ€™t have to be this extreme. It could simply be done by saying, â€œMom, I love you and I wish that you would stop smoking and decrease your chances of having a stroke!â€ Fortunately, my parents are alive, doing well, exercising regularly, and donâ€™t smoke. A fair number of my patients, friends, and colleagues have a loved one who has suffered a stroke and either died or is surviving with significant disabilities.
In the United States, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds and approximately every four minutes someone dies of a stroke. About 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Of those, 137,000 will die. Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in our country and the leading cause of long term disability among U.S. adults. In 2010, Americans spent over $73 billion dollars for stroke-related medical costs. Contrary to popular belief, strokes are not inevitable. In fact, eighty percent of strokes are preventable. Unfortunately as a physician, I often treat patients â€œafterâ€ the stroke has occurred. The disability that results from a stroke is devastating to the patient and the family. Regardless, many still continue to smoke, avoid being physically active, donâ€™t take their medicines as prescribed, and forget about scheduling regular visits with their doctor thinking they be unaffected by stroke.
Prevention is the answer to this problem and raising awareness about stroke is a very important part of this equation. We can address this by lowering our blood pressures with balanced meals, exercise, and medication if necessary; reducing our sodium intake by at least 1200mg per day and eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet. Health is our most important worldly possession. We must be conscious of our minds and bodies during this Motherâ€™s Day celebration. It is imperative that we tell our motherâ€™s and loved ones how much we care about them and to take charge of their lives today. We all have the Power to End Stroke, but we canâ€™t do it without knowledge. For more information, go to strokeassociation.org and get involved. You have the Power! I love you Mom! Happy Motherâ€™s Day!
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