This October Celebrate World Stroke Day In Your Workplace
World Stroke Day is just around the corner, so it's time to raise awareness about a major modern health concern: Stroke!
According to World Stroke Organization, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 59. In fact, CDC reports that Stroke-related costs in the United States came to nearly $53 billion between 2017 and 2018. The total cost includes the cost of health care services, medicines to treat strokes, and lost work time.
Thus, it has become very important that employers learn more about stroke and its influence on workplace wellness. You can read this piece on stroke, which honors the people who have suffered strokes worldwide.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is a health condition that occurs, when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds, or when there’s a blockage in the blood supply to the brain. Within minutes of being oxygen-deprived, brain cells and tissues begin to die. Blood and oxygen are prevented from reaching the brain's tissues because of the rupture or blockage.
There are three primary types of strokes:
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is caused by a blood clot that usually resolves on its own.
Ischemic Strokes occur when a clot or plaque blocks an artery. As opposed to TIAs, ischemic strokes can result in permanent symptoms and complications.
Hemorrhagic Stroke is caused by a burst or leaking blood vessel seeping into the brain.
Symptoms Of Stroke
The sooner a stroke victim receives treatment, the higher their chances of recovery. Symptoms of a stroke appear in affected regions of the body, mainly under the control of the brain.
For this reason, it’s crucial to know the signs of a stroke so you can act quickly. Stroke symptoms can include:
- Arm, face, and leg numbness or weakness, especially on one side.
- Trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Slurred speech
- Confusion, disorientation, or lack of responsiveness
- Sudden behavioral changes especially increased agitation
- Vision problems, such as trouble seeing from one or both eyes and blurred vision
- Trouble walking
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with an unknown cause
- Nausea or vomiting
Causes of Stroke
There are many factors that can trigger a stroke in an individual. This varies from a person’s unhealthy diet choices to a sedentary lifestyle . Following are some of the causes of stroke:
An unbalanced diet increases the risk of stroke. The type of diet that promotes stroke is typically rich in:
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
People who eat junk food and have irregular meals at work are more likely to suffer a stroke.
Inactivity, or lack of exercise, can also increase your risk of getting a stroke. There are a number of health benefits related to regular exercise. It is recommended that adults get at least 2.5 hours of daily exercise to maintain healthy lifestyle choices .
Corporate employees with desk jobs find it difficult to include physical activities in their daily routines. This increases the risk of a person suffering from a stroke manifold.
A few brisk walks each week can reduce the chance of acquiring stroke-like symptoms.
3. Heavy Alcohol Use
Heavy alcohol use is linked with higher risk of causing a stroke. Women should not drink more than one drink a day, while men should not drink more than two drinks a day.
Heavy alcohol use can raise blood pressure levels. It can also can cause atherosclerosis by raising triglyceride levels. This is a buildup of plaque in the arteries that narrows blood vessels.
Suggested Read: Substance Abuse in The Workplace - An Employee Health Epidemic
Tobacco consumption is high in the US, especially among the working population. Employees usually use tobacco and other tobacco-based products, like cigarettes, as a coping mechanism to stress.
However, using tobacco in any form raises the risk of stroke, since it can damage the blood vessels and heart. Nicotine also raises blood pressure.
Suggested Read: Smoke Cessation Programs
Stress can cause the heart to work harder, increasing blood pressure, sugar, and fat levels in the bloodstream. Consequently, these factors can increase the risk of clots forming and traveling to the heart or brain and causing heart attacks or strokes.
6. Heat-Induced Stroke
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. In this condition, the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body cannot cool off. It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes for the body temperature to reach 106°F or higher when heat stroke occurs.
During summers, employees have to look after their work-related commitments and also take care of themselves. Keeping themselves hydrated and eating the right items is an important part of the process.
7. Health Background
Although because of an unhealthy lifestyle the risk of stress increases manifold. However, there are some risk factors for stroke that you don't have control over, such as:
Family history - Stroke risk is higher in some families because of genetic health factors, such as high blood pressure.
Sex - According to the CDC, while both women and men can have strokes, they’re more common in women than in men in all age groups.
Age - The older you get, the more likely it is for you to have a stroke.
Race and ethnicity - American Indians, Alaska Natives, and African Americans are more likely to suffer strokes.
Certain medical conditions are linked to stroke risk. These include:
- Previous stroke or TIA
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disorders, such as coronary artery diseases
- Enlarged heart chambers and irregular heartbeats
- Sickle cell disease
- Blood clotting disorder
How to Prevent a Stroke In Your Workforce
Lifestyle changes can’t prevent all strokes. When it comes to reducing stroke risk, many of these changes can make a significant difference.
These changes include the following:
1. Quit Smoking
If you are a smoker, consider quitting now to lower your risk of stroke. You can reach out to your doctor to create a quit strategy. There are various smoke cessation programs that are helping employees quit this unhealthy habit and build on positive actions.
2. Limit Alcohol Use
Heavy alcohol use can elevate your blood pressure, increasing your risk of stroke. Reach out to your doctor for help if reducing your intake is becoming difficult.
3. Keep a Moderate Weight
Being overweight and obese increases the risk of stroke. To help manage your weight, eat a balanced diet and stay physically active more often than not. It can help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, making you fit, healthy and energetic.
4. Get Regular Health Checkups
If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any other medical condition, consult your doctor about how often you should get checked.
In addition to offering guidance, they can support you in making these changes in your lifestyle. Taking all of these precautions can help you get in better shape to avoid a stroke.
Celebrate World Stroke Day In Your Workplace
Workplaces, in their capacity, can take opportunities to make the most out of the day and create awareness around this important workplace challenge. Following are some ideas to help you plan an engaging stroke awareness campaign at your workplace.
1. Organize a Campaign Workshop
You can organize a workshop dedicated to stroke awareness and prevention. Bring prominent health experts on stroke to have an interactive session with the employees. You can also invite some stroke survivors to encourage and motivate the workforce on preventive healthcare measures.
2. Start a Fitness Challenge
Start a fitness challenge like the steps challenge , which encourages physical activities that can prevent stroke in the workforce. It will align the two major wellness goals for an employer by not just starting a wellness initiative but also promoting healthier habits to keep stroke at bay.
Suggested Read: Benefits Of Walkathon
3. Launch a Webinar
In this digital world, Geographical boundaries are no obstacle to knowledge transfer and getting in touch with the best experts. By organizing a webinar and encouraging health experts from offshore to share their experiences and opinions, employees from wide cultural or social backgrounds will be able to connect with the issue without any question of language or communication barriers.
4. Free Checkups
You may also conduct free checkups for your employees. This could be anything from basic biometric tests to checking the other relevant health parameters.
Top Stroke Survivor Quotes To Encourage Stroke Prevention Measures
Here are some of the best quotes from stroke survivors to motivate you to take stroke prevention measures. It will give them the optimism to quit their unhealthy practices and embrace a healthier lifestyle.
"When you become wellness-minded instead of illness-minded, you’ll start to create space for that wellness to manifest in your life." - Kate Allatt, Stroke Survivor
"No matter how bad things are, they can always be worse. So what if my stroke left me with a speech impediment? Moses had one, and he did all right." - Kirk Douglas
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” — St. Francis of Assisi
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” —A.A. Milne
“How will this stroke steal away my remaining dignity, let me count the ways.” ― Paula Stokes.
“Diseases which are often associated with aging, like Alzheimer's, strokes, cancers, etc, are not natural consequences of aging, they are self-inflicted!”
― Mango Wodzak
"During stroke recovery, action is key to recovery. Don’t get caught up in talking about your plans. Do them."
"A stroke comes uninvited like a storm and leaves everything in shreds. Take action, prevent it, go for checkups."
"There's a way to fight this disaster of a condition. Educate people, learn to recognize the signs and take action in an emergency"
The purpose of World Stroke Day is to raise public awareness about the serious nature and high rates of stroke, and to discuss ways to reduce the burden of stroke through better public education about the risk factors and signs of stroke. It is also an opportunity to advocate for action by decision-makers at global, regional, and national levels that are essential to improve stroke prevention, access to acute treatment, and support for survivors and caregivers.
So, hop in and take the initiative of being a torchbearer of stroke awareness and prevention in the workplace.
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