Most Strokes Can Be Prevented According to Intermountain Health

Industry: Healthcare

According to Intermountain Health caregivers, when a stroke does occur, it may be treatable if evaluated quickly in the hospital.

Fillmore, UT (PRUnderground) May 24th, 2024

May is Stroke Awareness Month, and neurologists want patients to understand that most stroke cases may be prevented. One in 20 adult deaths are due to strokes, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US.

Stroke is a term that physicians use when a part of the brain is damaged because of a problem with blood flow. Strokes can happen when:

  • An artery going to the brain gets clogged or closes off, and part of the brain goes without blood for too long. This accounts for approximately 85% of strokes.
  • An artery breaks open and starts bleeding into or around the brain

The effects of a stroke depend on several factors including which part of the brain is affected and how quickly the stroke is treated.

“Stroke symptoms can vary from minor with no lasting effects to severe disability or even death,” explained Wayne Brown, MD, chief medical officer at Intermountain Fillmore Hospital and family practitioner at Intermountain Fillmore Clinic. “Some individuals may experience partial paralysis or speech difficulties. The most frequent stroke indicators include sudden weakness in the face or arms and difficulty speaking, although strokes can manifest in various symptoms too.”

Risks for stroke can be partially genetics (or related to family history), but many risk factors are controllable through awareness and lifestyle changes. 80% of strokes in America are preventable. It’s important for each individual to know their risk factors.

Most strokes are caused by treatable risk factors and are therefore preventable. The main stroke risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, poor diet, lack of physical activity and cigarette use. Another common cause of stroke is untreated atrial fibrillation.

Healthy lifestyle choices such as regular exercise and a healthy diet could prevent ¾ of strokes.

A healthy diet, specifically the Mediterranean diet, with very few fried foods, sweets or red meat, and with more chicken, fish, vegetables, nuts and fruits, has been found to reduce the risk of stroke. Limiting salt can also lower your blood pressure.

Physical activity protects the heart and brain, and reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease and dementia. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week.

Quick medical treatment during a stroke is one of the most important factors in determining a good outcome. If a stroke does occur, there are treatments available to prevent long term brain injury but are very time sensitive.

A simple way to remember the signs of stroke is: BE FAST

Balance: Sudden difficulty with balance or coordination
Eyes: Sudden blurred or double vision, or loss of vision in one or both eyes without pain
Face: Drooping or numbness on one side of the face.
Arm Weakness: Sudden weakness or numbness in one arm.
Speech: Suden difficulty, slurring, or inability to speak.
Time: know when the last time you or your loved one had normal symptoms. Call 911.

Stroke treatments are focused on restoring blood flow to the brain to prevent brain tissue from dying due to lack of blood flow. Treatments include a blood clot dissolving medication called tPA and a procedure that uses a catheter to pull blood clots out of large arteries in the brain. Both treatments can significantly reduce disability, but are very time sensitive.

The Intermountain Health team of specialists continues to develop protocols that shorten the amount of time it takes to diagnose and treat a stroke. This is important because a quick diagnosis and treatment can mean less long-term damage, less disability, and better overall outcomes.  Scheduling an appointment with a primary care provider will help to discuss a plan to minimize potential risks.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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