Each year more than 140,000 people in the United States die from a stroke. It’s a condition recently making headlines after the sudden death of actor Luke Perry, who was only 52-years-old.
“I need to go check myself because he’s too young,” said Francisco Villarreal, a San Benito resident. “I’m 54. I mean you never know things happen.”
A condition Dr. Ameer Hassan, who’s the head of the Neuro-Science Department at Valley Baptist Neuro-Science Institute, said is common in the border Hispanic population.
“Because of the high incidents of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, there is an increased risk of stroke especially in the Valley,” Hassan said.
He says although the elderly is at risk of having a stroke, the younger population isn’t off the hook.
“The average age of strokes in the country is in the 60’s or 70’s. But it can happen to people in their 40’s and 50’s even,” Hassan said. “That’s typically an ischemic stroke and that’s 87 percent of the 800,000 strokes per year. “
Hassan says that usually happens when you have an abnormal rhythm in your heart and a clot breaks, which makes it difficult for the blood to pass through your brain.
He added that it’s a common factor for patients with strokes who have bad diets, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
At Valley Baptist alone, doctors see about 850 strokes a year.
“From a prevention stand point, I would recommend 30 minutes a day of exercise, dieting, fruits and vegetables,” he said. “Most importantly, see your doctor.”
To catch warning signs of a stroke the American Heart Association Recommends using the “FAST” acronym which means: Face is dropping, Arms are weak, Speech difficulty and Time to call 911.
For those experiencing any stroke-like symptoms, Hassan says you should seek medical attention immediately.