I know what you are probably thinking. This is a website about natural hair. Why is there an article about stroke on a natural hair website? While the topic may seem irrelevant, consider these statistics. Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. About 60% of strokes occur in women. African Americans are at particularly high risk. On average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds. Every 4 minutes someone dies of stroke. That means that in the time it takes you to read an article on natural hair care, or watch a hair style tutorial on YouTube, two people have died from stroke. Got your attention? I hope so. We all need to know the warning signs of stroke so that we can act fast and maybe save someone’s life or prevent permanent disability.
Let me start by explaining what stroke is. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die. If a stroke occurs and blood flow can’t reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won’t work as it should. Timely treatment is crucial to prevent permanent damage, so the sooner the symptoms are recognized, the better.
If one or more of these signs is present, call 9-1-1 immediately:
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause
I’ve had three family members suffer from stroke, and each of them exhibited one or more of these signs. One that you all can relate to most was my cousin. She is in her late 40s and healthy all around – taking good care of herself. She is also a naturalista (see, I managed to bring up natural hair in the article after all) While at work one day, she complained of a sudden excruciating headache. She told her co-workers and let them know she was heading home for the day to get some rest. One co-worker recognized the warning sign and called 911 instead of letting her leave. Before the ambulance could get to the hospital, she was completely unconscious. She stayed in a coma for 2 weeks. Over time she recovered and back into the swing of things. Every time I see her, I’m amazed at how well she is doing. Then I think maybe if she knew the signs herself, she would have acted sooner on her own behalf. And I’m so thankful that her co-worker didn’t let her just head home that day.
I hope you all don’t mind that I took a slight detour from a hair-related health topic to talk about stroke. Realize the importance of knowing what to look for, and taking immediate action when it comes to stroke. Remember to know the warning signs and do not delay in calling 911 to get help. You could save a life – a family member, a friend or your own.