For May, designated nationally as stroke awareness month, let’s get into stroke prevention. Living the fit life (regular exercise) is one way to lower your risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these others:

  • Stop smoking! Cigarette smoking contributes to one in every five strokes in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Smoking—and even exposure to second-hand smoke—can thicken the blood and make it more likely to clot. Get help at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

  • Find out if aspirin therapy is right for you. Ask your doctor.

  • Control blood pressure. Keeping your blood pressure under control reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. More than half of the world’s stroke deaths are caused by elevated blood pressure levels.

  • Manage cholesterol. Get your cholesterol checked regularly and manage it with diet and physical activity or with medication, if needed.

  • Eat a healthy diet that’s low in sodium.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Prevent or control diabetes.

  • Limit your alcohol intake (fewer than two drinks each day for men, or one drink each day for women).

Remember, stroke symptoms:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.

  • Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding.

  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.

  • Severe headache with no known cause.

When responding to a stroke, every minute counts. The sooner a person receives medical treatment, the lower the risk for death or disability. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Free local screenings for stroke risk

West Boca Medical Center is offering free stroke screenings, including glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure tests, in honor of stoke month.

To schedule your appointment, call 866-904-9262. West Boca Medical Center is at 21644 State Road 7, Boca Raton, 33428.

Another free health screening opportunity…

Delray Medical Center and the Alliance of Delray Residential Associations will host the annual Wellness Screening Expo, Friday, May 3, 2013 at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, 33446. The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office will also be offering a safe and free way to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription medications with their Operation Pill Drop receptacles. The narcotics division will be present to take in any over-the counter medications, vitamins, ointments, medications for pets and prescriptions that are no longer needed.

“Operation Pill Drop is a great opportunity for our community members to open up their medicine cabinets to safely discard of any old or expired prescribed medications. In addition, our hospital will provide complimentary screenings to add to the atmosphere of wellness.” Says Mark Bryan, Delray Medical Center chief executive officer

Delray Medical Center will offer complimentary screenings from 8 am to 12 pm, which include: biometrics, bone density, vision and glaucoma, lung function breathing test and much more. Healthcare professionals and pharmacists will be available to answer questions from participants. Appointments are required for heart health screenings and fasting is necessary for blood work. Attendees can call 1-800-897-9789 to register.

About Lisette:

Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The long-time Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on www.wordscomealive.com.