A day dedicated to preventing stroke

World Stroke Day is Oct. 29.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability in the United States.

An estimated 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year. Someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, according to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

In eastern North Carolina, the rate of stroke is higher than the national average.

World Stroke Day encourages everyone to:

1. Know your personal risk factors: high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol.
2. Be physically active and exercise regularly.
3. Maintain a healthy diet high in fruit and vegetable and low in salt to stay healthy and keep blood pressure low.
4. Limit alcohol consumption.
5. Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, seek help to stop now.
6. Learn to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and how to take action.

According to the East Carolina Heart Institute, the warning signs of stroke include:

• Numbness or tingling in an arm, leg, face or on one side of the body
• Severe headache
• Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Not being able to talk
• Brief loss of consciousness
• Nausea and vomiting
• Blurry or double vision

Remember the 3 R’s: reduce your risk of stroke; recognize the signs of stroke; respond right away to the warning signs of stroke by calling 911.

The East Carolina Heart Institute is the first in North Carolina devoted exclusively to education, research, treatment, and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The primary facilities that make up the Heart Institute are located on the campuses of Vidant Medical Center and ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. For more information, go to www.eastcarolinaheartinstitute.com