Debunking the myths of stroke

A STROKE or transient ischemic attack (TIA), also referred to as a “mini-stroke,” occurs when a blood vessel feeding the brain gets clogged or bursts. Neither that part of the brain nor the part of the body it controls can then function properly. The Bcenter (also known as Global Stroke Resource Center), a Central Florida based stroke-focused nonprofit, is addressing common stroke misconceptions and urging individuals to take preventative action.

MYTH: Strokes are rare.
REALITY: Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. and Europe, and it is the second leading cause of death worldwide (fourth in the U.S.). In fact, every two seconds, someone in the world suffers a stroke. Sadly, stroke remains the third cause of death for U.S. women and the fifth cause of death for U.S. men; therefore, it is the fourth cause of death in the U.S. overall.

MYTH: Stroke happens in the heart.
REALITY: Like heart disease, stroke is a cardiovascular disease; however, it affects the arteries leading to and within the brain — often referred to as a “brain attack.”

MYTH: Stroke is unpreventable.
REALITY: Approximately 85 percent of all strokes can be prevented with the lifesaving knowledge of risk factors and symptoms, paired with proper lifestyle choices.

MYTH: A severe headache is the sole symptom of a stroke.
REALITY: Headache is the most common symptom, but one also may experience slurred speech, numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), confusion, dizziness, or blurred vision.

MYTH: Stroke cannot be treated.
REALITY: Stroke is a 9-1-1 emergency, but not a death sentence. Urgent treatments can include a clot-busting medication, surgical interventions, and more. There is life after stroke!

MYTH: Stroke only strikes the elderly.
REALITY: Stroke can happen to anyone, including children and babies in utero. Though age, heredity, race, and gender can increase one’s risk. For example, incidence is higher among African Americans than Caucasians, in part because African Americans have higher risk of elevated blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. More women than men die of a stroke annually; women are 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke than breast cancer. Unfortunately, the number of strokes among young and middle-aged Americans is rising dramatically, a sign that the obesity epidemic may be starting to shift the age burden of the disease.

MYTH: Stroke recovery and rehabilitation only lasts for a few months.
REALITY: Stroke recovery is a continual journey filled with opportunities to heal through conventional and holistic treatments, hope, and patience. Bottom line: Never give up! Visit, a Central Florida based nonprofit serving stroke survivors and their families, to learn F.A.S.T., an acronym to recognize stroke warning signs, and other prevention tools.



ABOUT BCENTER: Bcenter, also known as Global Stroke Resource, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to empower, educate and light the path to recovery for stroke survivors and families. Bcenter is dedicated to providing treatment resources, hope and direction. Founder Valerie Greene (at right in the illustration above) personally overcame grim odds in the aftermath of two debilitating strokes that nearly took her life at just 31 years old. Acknowledging that her miraculous survival and recovery could impact others afflicted by stroke or any disability, Greene crusaded for years to support healthcare advocacy, programs and education, and she now serves as a stroke coach. Visit online or call (888) 942-Bwell (9355).

Data, in part, gathered from the American Stroke Association, Bcenter, and the World Stroke Association.

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