Monday, May 10, 2021

National Stroke Awareness In May: The Perfect Time To Schedule Your Life Line Screening

 May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a timely reminder to share information on the causes, symptoms, and prevention of strokes.

When my brother suffered a debilitating stroke in 2008, I knew little about the life-threatening condition. Since that time, I've made it a habit to be proactive about health by scheduling yearly Life Line Screening appointments. Early detection is key to preventing strokes!




According to the American Stroke Association, strokes are the #5 cause of death (and a leading cause of disabilities) in the U.S. They can happen to anyone at any age, and on average, one person dies from a stroke every four minutes. 


A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off by a blockage or a blood vessel ruptures within the brain. Nearly 2 million cells in the brain die from lack of oxygen every minute when left untreated. Rapid medical treatment is the difference between a full recovery and a permanent disability. That's why it's so important to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and act F.A.S.T. 


Face (does the face droop on one side?)

Arm Weakness (raise both arms. Does one drift downward?)

Speech Difficulty (is speech slurred or odd?)

Time To Call 911 (if someone is exhibiting these symptoms)



 Strokes are 80% preventable if you are vigilant about your health. Seeing your physician regularly for check-ups is a good start. The American Heart Association has seven additional tips for preventing strokes:

 

1. Manage blood sugar

2. Control Cholesterol

3. Reduce blood pressure

4. Engage in regular physical activity

5. Stick to a healthy diet

6. Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight

7. No smoking


Given my family's history of stroke, blood clots, and aortic aneurysms, I know I need to remain proactive about my health. An essential factor for me is scheduling my yearly appointment with Life Line Screening. The process is easy and efficient because prescriptions and health insurance are unnecessary (and appointments can conveniently be made over the phone or online). Also, there are testing facilities available all over the U.S., with screenings hosted mainly by churches, libraries, town halls, and fraternal organizations near your home. The Life Line Screening teams usually consist of 2 sonographers (ultrasound technicians) and 2 medical assistants. The process is entirely painless and non-invasive with the use of an ultrasound wand (a diagnostic tool that creates visual images for the detection of plaque in the arteries). Unlike an x-ray, the ultrasound has zero radiation exposure. These same tests can be very costly if performed in a hospital since many are not covered by insurance if the patient is asymptomatic or does not fall into the high-risk category for cardiovascular disease. The screening process takes roughly 60-90 minutes (often less), and results are read by a doctor before the detailed report is mailed to you (usually within 2-3 weeks). Copies are also provided for your physician so that you can discuss the results and plan the best course of action for living a healthy lifestyle. If a condition that requires immediate attention is identified, the patient will be notified on the day of the screening. 



THE THREE TYPES OF TESTING AVAILABLE:


1. Ultrasound. This is the main package they offer---5 screenings for only $149. The tests include: 

   *An ultrasound of the carotid arteries to search for plaque blockages (these are fatty blockages that build up in the arteries and prevent proper blood flow to the brain).

   *An ultrasound of the abdominal aorta (the largest artery in the body) to look for an aneurysm or damage to the aorta---such as ballooning, stretching, or tearing, which can cause extensive bleeding and potential death.

  *A Peripheral Arterial Disease screening to check the circulatory condition. If blood vessels are narrow from plaque build-up, the blood flow to the limbs is reduced considerably, affecting the arteries in the legs and the blood flow to the heart, brain, arms, kidney, and stomach. 

  *Check for Arterial Fibrillation to search for irregular heart rhythms. If the heart isn't beating properly, blood pools in the heart and causes clotting. These clots are then pumped out of the heart and can travel into the brain, putting the patient at high risk for a stroke, heart failure, and other heart complications. 

   *The Osteoporosis Test is used to detect bone density. As we age, our bones become more porous and lose mass, making them susceptible to fractures.


2. Finger-Stick Blood Test. A quick stick test is done with a tiny needle to prick the finger for a drop of blood to check cholesterol, thyroid function, vitamin D, glucose levels, and more.


3. Limited EKG (Electrocardiogram). This is a partial test that uses adhesive patches attached to the skin to screen for atrial fibrillation. People with atrial fibrillation have five times higher risk of stroke than those without this abnormal heart rhythm. 


 

Please consider taking advantage of all the wonderful services Life Line Screening provides. You'll be taking control of your health and finding priceless peace of mind after visiting a testing site for, what in my opinion are life-saving screenings. 



9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the reminder. My mother had a stroke, as did her mother. Good to have all bases covered.

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    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry to hear that--I hope yon will get screened!

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  2. Replies
    1. Always happy to spread the word about Life Line Screening!

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  3. Ah, the Life Line Screening. It could be a valuable part of one's arsenal if one plans to discuss- and follow the recommendations- of our primary physician.

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely---no reason not to do it since it is pain free, inexpensive and give you peace of mind! GREAT way to be proactive about your health!

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  4. My Mum had a stroke at 38 made a full recovery, my brother in-law died of a stroke aged 46

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    Replies
    1. That is so young and I'm very sorry to hear that you lost your brother.

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