Think you're stroke savvy? Test your knowledge with this short quiz we've put together in recognition of National Stroke Awareness Month, which arrives every May. We've covered most of this information, so regular readers who have been paying attention should know all the answers.
1. A stroke is:
A. An interruption in blood flow to the heart.
B. An interruption in blood flow to the brain.
C. An interruption in blood flow to the lungs.
2. True or false: Only the elderly have strokes.
3. The symptoms of a stroke may include weakness on one side of the body, vision trouble, difficulty talking or understanding speech, severe headache and trouble walking or loss of balance. These symptoms . . .
A. May last for weeks before requiring medical treatment.
B. Can wait until Monday.
C. Come on suddenly and require an immediate call to 911.
4. The most common type of stroke is:
A. Ischemic stroke, caused by a blockage.
B. TIA, or transient ischemic attack.
C. Hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a burst blood vessel.
5. Which phrase best describes a TIA (the medical condition, not the airport)?
A. Massive stroke left untreated for 12 to 24 hours; permanent disability likely.
B. Stroke treated within three hours of the first symptom, paralysis gone the next day.
C. Warning stroke, symptoms lasted just two minutes.
6. List five risk factors for stroke over which you have no control.
7. What are five factors you can control to reduce your stroke risk? Bonus: What's the biggest factor?
8. How much dietary cholesterol is okay for most people trying to lower stroke risk?
A. Up to 300 milligrams each day.
B. Up to 3,000 milligrams each day.
C. Up to 30 milligrams each day.
9. Avoiding trans fats can help lower your stroke risk. What should you look for on food labels that is "code" for trans fat?
A. Partially hydrogenated oils.
B. Monounsaturated fats.
C. Polyunsaturated fats.
10. What's the other dietary fat you should avoid?
A. Monounsaturated fat.
B. Polyunsaturated fat.
C. Saturated fat.
11. Sodium can influence stroke risk. How much is allowable each day?
A. Less than 23 milligrams each day.
B. Up to 2,300 milligrams.
C. More than 2,300 milligrams.
12. True or false: Most strokes cannot be prevented.
1. B. That's why a stroke is also known as a brain attack. If this disruption lasts more than a few hours it can cause permanent disability or death.
2. False. Remember Beau Biden's stroke this month at age 41? An estimated 10 to 15 percent of strokes occur in people under age 45.
3. C. There are only a few "golden hours" for treatment that may stop a stroke and prevent or reverse brain damage or disability. It's important to know when symptoms started. So call 911 and check the clock.
4. A. The American Heart Association says 87 percent of strokes in the United States are ischemic. The blockage can occur where fatty deposits (plaque) build up on the lining of vessel walls. Or a clot can travel through the bloodstream until it reaches blood vessels in the brain so small that it can't pass through.
5. C. A transient ischemic attack is a warning stroke, sometimes called a ministroke. Symptoms last less than five minutes and there are no residual effects. But most strokes don't start out as a TIA, so don't wait to see if it passes. According to the National Stroke Association, up to 40 percent of TIAs lead to a full stroke within a year, so take this warning seriously.
6. Age: The risk doubles after 55.
Gender: Men are more vulnerable at younger ages, then older women take the lead.
Race: African-Americans have twice the risk of whites.
Family history of stroke.
Personal history of stroke, heart attack, TIA, atrial fibrillation, diabetes (but some experts say that's partly controllable).
7. Quit smoking; control blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, circulatory problems and heart disease; lose weight; limit alcohol; get 30 minutes physical activity every day; lower dietary fat and sodium. Bonus: Blood pressure. (Anything over 120/80 is considered high.)
9. A. Trans fats are used to make processed foods last longer. They also increase "bad'' cholesterol (LDL) and lower "good'' cholesterol (HDL). If you can't avoid trans fats altogether, limit to 2 grams per day.
10. C. Saturated fat can raise overall blood cholesterol. Limit it to no more than 16 grams a day. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, in moderation, can help reduce cholesterol.
12. False. Eighty percent of strokes could be prevented by controlling risk factors.