Strokes are one of the leading cause of death worldwide. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms, and know how to lower your chances of getting a stroke. So on this month’s #HealthTalkThursday, that is what we will be talking about.
What does it mean to have a stroke?
A stroke happens when there is an interruption in blood supply to certain parts of the brain. This can be caused by a restriction or blockage in the blood vessels due to a clot (ischemic stroke), or a bleed due to an injury to the blood vessels (hemorrhagic stroke). The affected area in the brain is usually deprived of oxygen and nutrients leading to cell and tissue death. A stroke is a medical emergency and time is of the essence when dealing with stroke. Early treatment usually leads to lower complications and early recovery.
What are the risk factors?
High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the biggest causes of stroke. Read more about hypertension HERE
Other risk factors include:
– Overweight or obesity
– High cholesterol
– Obstructive Sleep Apnea
– Personal or family history i.e genetics
– Age greater than 55
– Smoking tobacco products
– Using illicit drugs e.g cocaine
– Excessive drinking of alcohol
– Gender i.e men are more likely to have strokes than women
– Race i.e African American or black people have higher incidences of stroke
How do I know if someone is having a stroke?
Like I said earlier, Time is of the essence when someone is having a stroke. TIME IS BRAIN. And this is literal in every sense. For every minute that passes, about 2 million brain cells die. See why it is very important to know what signs and symptoms to be on the look out for so you can take action F.A.S.T. A very popular acronym to keep in mind for signs and symptoms of stroke is F A S T
Is one side of the person’s face drooping? Ask the person to smile, does the smile look even or is it lopsided?
Is one side weaker than the other? Ask the person to lift up both their arms. Can they lift both of them up, or does one arm fall to the side?
Does the person’s speech sound slurred? Is it hard to understand what the person is saying? Ask the person to say a simple phrase or sentence
Time to call for help
If the answers to the above questions are YES, then it is time for action. Call the emergency number in your area, or drive the person to the nearest hospital or emergency room
Remember, when you think of stroke, think FAST, act FAST.
Other signs and symptoms of a stroke include:
– Sudden severe headache
– Trouble walking or difficulty with balance and coordination
– Blurry vision, double vision,
– Sudden confusion or disorientation
How can I lower my chances of having a stroke?
To lower your chances of having a stroke, you should know your risk factors and make lifestyle modifications accordingly. Some things you can do include:
– Maintain a healthy weight
– Check your blood pressure regularly and maintain a low blood pressure
– Eat a healthy Diet
– Lower your cholesterol levels by changing your diet or talking to your doctor about medications that can help
– Quit smoking
– Exercise regularly
– Don’t use illegal or illicit drugs
Key point is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and going for regular checkups.
What are the complications from having a stroke?
Strokes can be fatal if treatment is not gotten on time. Rule of thumb is that the earlier you get help, the better your chances are.
Potential complications of stroke are:
Paralysis: Usually affects one side of the body. Person may lose the ability to use certain muscles on the affected side
Memory loss or thinking difficulties
Changes in behavior
Extensive rehabilitation is needed for survivors of stroke to be able to regain some or all functioning, and to live a healthy and independent life after. Rehabilitation could include physiotherapy, speech therapy, evaluation by an occupational therapist etc
Our HealthTalkThursday Challenge this month is simple- learn the F.A.S.T acronym and teach someone else. It is important that as many people as possible can recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke, and know when to get help.
Remember, TIME IS BRAIN. Every minute counts!!!
Thank you for reading! Catch you on the next post!