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    Stroke – Hate It

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | May 24th, 2021

    Stroke – Hate It

    When I was younger, my paternal grandmother had a stroke. She was never the same after the stroke and later died.  I hated the word stroke. I am much older and now a physician and I still hate the word stroke.  In the United States, stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer does, making it the third leading cause of death in women.

    May is National Stroke Awareness month. It is important that we all learn about the risk factors for stroke and learn how to prevent strokes.  The majority of strokes are preventable.  We can make a difference for ourselves and those that we love.

    Here are three things that I would like you to remember:

    1. Learn the signs of a stroke so that you can help to act F.A.S.T. The faster we can intervene, the better the chances of surviving and recovering from a stroke.

    F – Face drooping – Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?

    A – Arm weakness- Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

    S – Speech difficulty – Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?

    T – Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person shows any of these signs, call 9 -1-1 immediately.

    • Control your blood pressure– Hypertension or high blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke.  The goal is to get the blood pressure less than 120/80.
      • Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
      • If you have high blood pressure, you should own a blood pressure cuff.
      • If you are taking medication to help lower your blood pressure and it is not working, talk to your health care provider.
      • Diet can play a role in helping to control your blood pressure – check out the DASH dietDietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension diet.
    • QUIT SMOKING – taking birth control pills and smoking puts you at risk for having a stroke. Certain diseases like sickle cell disease or lupus and smoking puts you at risk of having a stroke. To help quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).

    To learn more about stroke, please click here.

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

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