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Surviving Stroke

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Itís estimated that nearly 800,000 people will suffer a stroke this year, according to the National Stroke Association, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month and there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

Taking good care of your body can help prevent stroke. Quitting smoking, lowering blood pressure, controlling diabetes, and exercising can all help lower your risk of suffering a stroke.

There are other risk factors that really canít be controlled. Such as age, while a stroke can occur at any age the older you get the greater the odds. Men have a higher risk for stroke but more women die from it because women usually have strokes when they are older and theyíve more severe. African Americans are about twice as likely to have a stroke than Caucasians. While you canít change your age, gender, or race, if you make healthy lifestyle choices your risk of stroke goes down and chances for survival go up.

ĒThose people who have minor strokes go on to live completely normal lives, others are more effected by it and may have devastating complications. Thatís why prevention is key to minimizing the severity of the problems after a stroke,Ē said Dr. Cam Campbell, Mercy Medical Center.

If you do have a stroke doctors say get to the hospital as quickly as possible to minimize brain damage. Following a stroke there are a number of rehab options such as speech and occupational therapy that can help.