As a culture and community, Black Americans have the highest incidence of high blood pressure, with 1 out of 2 adults having some form of hypertension. May is stroke awareness month, and it is essential to understand the mechanics of blood pressure and what the numbers represent.
The higher number is the systolic number, and it represents the active portion of blood pressure, when the heart is pumping. This number should be around 120 or lower. The lower number represents the diastolic number, or the passive or resting portion of blood pressure. This number should be around 80 or lower.
One of the most common ways to identify a stroke is using the acronym FAST as recommended by the National Stroke Association:
F – Face; If you think someone may be having a stroke, look at their face to see if one side is drooping.
A – Arm: Ask the person to raise their arms. Check to see if one arm drifts downward.
S – Speech: Check to see if the person’s speech is slurred, hard to understand or strange.
T – Time to Call 911: If you observe any of the above signs, call for help immediately.
Here are a few healthy lifestyle tips that can help lessen the potential of becoming a stroke victim:
1.Healthy eating habits – Adding healthier foods to your diet can help with the prevention of a stroke and countless other ailments. Make a conscious decision to eat more fruits and vegetables.
2.Physical activity – Exercising at least 3 times a week . Take brisk walks or take an exercise class! Any movement is good!
3.Monitor your levels – Keep an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These numbers have a direct connection to the possibility of having a stroke. Regular doctor visits help you stay on top of your numbers!
4.Reduce your stress levels – High stress situations can have an impact on your blood pressure, so try to avoid stressful situations as much as possible.
To learn more about strokes contact the American Stroke Association.