|Stroke Information for Seniors Added
to the NIHSeniorHealth Web Site
Each year in the United States, there are more than
700,000 strokes. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes
occur in people over the age of 65 and the risk of having
a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age
of 55. To help older adults learn more about the signs
and symptoms of stroke and the need to act quickly,
the National Institutes of Health is adding four new
topics on stroke to its NIHSeniorHealth web site: Act
Quickly, Warnings Signs and Risk Factors, What Happens
during a Stroke, and Treatments and Research. The site
features easy-to-read stroke information, developed
by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke (NINDS), and may be found at www.nihseniorhealth.gov.
“Stroke is an unmistakable event. Few other medical
conditions come on so suddenly or are so noticeable
to a bystander,” said John R. Marler, M.D., associate
director for clinical trials at the NINDS.
A stroke occurs when normal blood flow to the brain
is disrupted. Brain cells die when deprived of oxygen
and nutrients provided by blood. Because stroke injures
the brain, the person having a stroke may not realize
what is happening. But to a bystander the signs of a
stroke are distinct:
- 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 or loss of balance
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
In treating a stroke, every minute counts. New treatments
are available that greatly reduce the damage caused
by a stroke, but must be delivered quickly after symptoms
begin. Knowing the stroke symptoms, calling 911 immediately,
and getting to a hospital are critical to preventing
Risk factors for stroke include family history, high
blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, physical inactivity,
advancing age, and being overweight.
Older Americans are one of the fastest growing age
groups using the Internet, especially when searching
for health information. In fact, 66 percent of “wired” seniors
search for health and medical information when they
go online. NIHSeniorHealth, a joint effort of the National
Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of
Medicine (NLM), was designed especially with seniors
in mind. The site, which is based on the latest research
on cognition and aging, features short, easy-to-read
segments of information. The new section links to other
information on stroke on the NINDS website at www.ninds.nih.gov.
The site also links to MedlinePlus, NLM’s premier site
for news on diseases and wellness, drug information,
clinical trials, and other consumer health resources.
The NINDS is the nation's primary supporter of
biomedical research on the brain and nervous system.
It is dedicated to research and education on the causes,
treatment, and prevention of stroke. The NIA leads
the federal effort supporting and conducting research
on aging and the health and well-being of older people.
The NLM, the world's largest library of the health
sciences, creates and sponsors web-based health information
resources for the public and professionals. All three
are components of the National Institutes of Health
in Bethesda, Maryland, part of the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The
Nation's Medical Research Agency — is comprised
of 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and
supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and investigates the causes, treatments,
and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more
information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.