A stroke also is referred to as a brain attack, and one happens every 40 seconds in the US, according to the National Stroke Association. This is Stroke Awareness Month, and it is a good time to remember how to prevent strokes, and what to do if your loved one has a stroke.

Every year, more than 500,000 Americans have a stroke. This happens when a blood vessel in the brain that carries oxygen gets clogged or bursts. When this occurs, the nerve cells in that part of the brain are not able to function. Whatever part of the body those nerve cells control will be damaged and impaired. This is why strokes affect people different. Some strokes will cause problems in movement, memory, speech or a combination of these.

Remember that many signs of stroke can be temporary, and may fade after a few hours or minutes. Anyone at any age can have a stroke, but the most common factors include these:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Heavy alcohol or drug use
  • Family history of stroke
  • Age of 55 or older
  • African-American

Some of these risk factors cannot be controlled – family history, age and gender. But several risk factors, including high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes, can be controlled by making changes in lifestyle. In fact, research indicates that 80% of strokes may be prevented when the risk factors are reduced.

The National Stroke Association states that you can reduce your chance of stroke in the following ways:

  • Take your blood pressure regularly and get it under control as needed with lifestyle changes or drug therapy.
  • Control diabetes.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Check with your doctor if you have any circulation problems.
  • Maintain a low fat, lower sodium diet.
  • Know your cholesterol levels.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Drink limited amounts of alcohol.
  • Make sure that you do not have atrial fibrillation.

Also, if you suspect you or a loved one has had  stroke, be aware of the symptoms and necessity to act fast:

  • Face droop
  • Arm shift downward
  • Speech slurred
  • Time is important

These four together are known as FAST, and you should call 911 right away if you or a loved one is experiencing such symptoms.

Cooking Supplies for Stroke


If you or a loved one has had a stroke, we offer a variety of adaptive cooking equipment that will allow you to still enjoy working in the kitchen. The Multi-Function Food Preparation Board allows you to cut vegetables with one hand, and the Mixing Bowl Holder is handy for mixing recipes with one hand.