Understanding Stroke

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ACTIV TIPS

1. Strokes occur due to decrease in blood supply to the brain or defects in blood vessel.
2. Common risk factors for stroke are diabetes, high BP, obesity, family history and smoking.
3. Symptoms of impending stroke are, inability to smile, weakness in the arm, slurred speech.
4. Stroke is a medical emergency which can lead to permanent disability or even death hence best treated in a hospital.
5. Recovery is possible if the patient reaches the hospital in time for appropriate treatment to be initiated.

Stroke is a serious threat that occurs due to decrease in blood supply to the brain. Blockage of blood supply or some problem in a blood vessel of the brain can lead to stroke. During a stroke, the brain is not able to get the required amount of oxygen and nutrients, which causes brain cells to die. Stroke requires an immediate medical intervention.

There are 3 main types of stroke:

•Ischemic strokes – Around 85% of strokes around the world are Ischemic strokes. It is caused due to blockage or narrowing of arteries connected to the brain
•Hemorrhagic strokes – It is caused by the bursting or leakage of blood from arteries in the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes can be caused by various conditions such as hypertension, blood thinning medication or weaknesses in the blood vessel walls
•Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) –Also known as mini attack, TIAs are similar to ischemic stroked. In case of TIAs, the flow of blood to the brain is only temporarily disrupted

Symptoms

The symptoms of stroke are as follows:

• Sudden numbness or weakness on the face and one side of the body
• Confusion, trouble speaking and communicating
• Problem with eye sight
• Trouble walking, dizziness and loss of balance
• Severe headache

It is easy to remember the FAST acronym in order to recognize the onset of stroke.

• F – Face is dropping
• A – Arm is weak
• S – Speech is slurred
• T – Time lost is Brain lost

Treatment

When a person shows symptoms related to the stroke, a neurologist has to confirm it. Along with this, the doctor also need to confirm its location and the extent of brain damage as treatment decision will based on these factors.
• Clot-busting drugs are used to treat Ischemic strokes
• For Hemorrhagic, surgery to repair or block blood vessel weaknesses is used

Prevention

The best way to prevent stroke is addressing the underlying causes by living healthily. Here is the list of things you can do to prevent stroke:

• Include fruits and vegetables in your diet
• Avoid over consumption of food high in cholesterol and saturated fat
• Maintain normal blood pressure and diabetes
• Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight
• Avoid alcohol, smoke and illicit drugs

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