May is Stroke Awareness month. If you’ve had a stroke or known someone who has suffered a stroke, you know that the results can vary from mild change in function all the way up to severe paralysis, loss of speech or even death. The recovery from a severe stroke can take months or years and costs huge sums of money, not to mention lost quality of life or earning potential.
Not all strokes can be prevented. Some are due to congenital issues beyond our control.
But most of the same conditions that increase the risk of heart attack also increase stroke risk. These conditions include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, smoking and lack of exercise. This list is not all inclusive, but controlling these conditions would save many lives.
Given the cost of treatment once a stroke has occurred, prevention is key. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear to act. If you have one or more of the above listed conditions, take care of it. If you really want to know if you have atherosclerosis, consider having a carotid ultrasound that identifies plaque and measures the thickness of the artery wall. This is called a Carotid Intima Media Thickness Scan or CIMT. The results can motivate you to act to save your own life.
We offer these scans in our office for under $200. If you have more disease than you should, you will be motivated to make the changes necessary to improve your results.
A word of caution:
Many of you have heard of or had the Lifeline Scan. Though the same technology is used in both Lifeline and CIMT. Lifeline is focused on blockage. It is best to act long before there is blockage. Any plaque should prompt more efforts to improve arterial health. The CIMT costs a bit more, but you get what you pay for. You can act much earlier and less invasively.
So, if the signs and symptoms of a stroke appear, act FAST. But don’t wait for the symptoms to understand your arterial health. And don’t wait for arteries to be blocked before you act to make them healthier.
For more information on The Center for Prevention Heart Attack and Stroke, visit our website. Schedule your 15 minute CIMT screening right away by calling 217-321-1987. 15 minutes can save far more than money on car insurance; it could save your life.