LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – In just the past two weeks, strokes took the lives of two well-known people in show business: actor Luke Perry, and Academy Award-nominated director John Singleton. Both were in their early fifties.
They’re among the more than 800,000 Americans who’ll suffer a stroke this year.
A stroke happens when the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted and is the leading cause of serious long term disability in the United States.
Stroke patients are treated at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Ludlow, which held a stroke awareness health fair on Thursday.
Elaine Hodgman suffered a stroke when she was just 43-years-old. “It was devastating, it changed my whole family’s life,” she said. “It was scary beyond belief because they told me I would never walk again.”
Elaine has since made a remarkable recovery.
Speech therapist John Hunt told 22News how people should recognize a transient ischemic attack, which is sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke.”
“Lots of people have them,” Hunt explained. “You have the symptoms of a stroke, but it comes and goes in a very short period of time. It’s precursor to a real stroke.”
While researchers are still working on prevention, John Hunt said that treatment has come a long way to help survivors lead as normal a life as possible.
The best way to prevent a stroke is to lead a healthy lifestyle and to work with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.