Stroke 101: Things You Should Know

A stroke, sometimes described as a brain attack, can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. It happens when there is a disruption to the flow of blood in the brain, which results in the brain cells being deprived of oxygen. The brain cells start to die when they do not get the oxygen they require.

Monitoring Blood Pressure

Signs of Stroke

During a stroke, the abilities of the individual, including memory and muscle control, that are controlled by that specific area of the brain, are lost. Learning more about stroke, including the causes of stroke and how to identify when someone is having one, is important in order to ensure that medical treatment is provided immediately and that potential damages are minimized.

Cause of Stroke

Strokes can be caused by a number of things. The risk factors typically include smoking, use of illegal drugs, inactive lifestyle, heavy drinking, obesity and family history. Depending on the type of stroke, the cause can vary. The two most common types of stroke are explained below:

Hemorrhagic Stroke – this occurs due to internal bleeding when a vein inside the brain bursts. Haemorrhagic strokes are also known as cerebral hemorrhage or intracranial hemorrhage. The causes of hemorrhagic stroke include:

  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Increased levels of stress
  • Excessive drinking
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

A hemorrhagic stroke can also be caused by abnormal formation of blood vessels or the tearing of expanded blood vessels.

Ischaemic Stroke – this occurs when a blood clot disrupts the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Causes of ischaemic stroke include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • High levels of cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure

Atrial Fibrillation, a kind of irregular heartbeat, is another cause of ischaemic stroke.

How to Identify When Someone is Having a Stroke

There are a variety of ways to identify when someone is having a stroke. The FAST method can be used to identify the signs:

F: Face Drooping
A: Arm Weakness
S: Speaking Difficulties
T: Time to call an ambulance

Some of the other warning signs include:

  • Increased confusion
  • Weakness or numbness in the face and leg, particularly one-sided
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Problems with vision

It is best to call for medical attention immediately if someone is experiencing these symptoms.

Prevention of Stroke

It is important to take measures to reduce the risk of stroke, especially since cases of stroke, particularly among young adults, are increasing. Generally, a healthy lifestyle should be adopted as this will help to prevent stroke as well as various other health problems. The following measures are recommended:

  • Reduce the amount of cholesterol and saturated fats from the diet
  • Stop smoking
  • Control and maintain blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Control diabetes
  • Quit or limit consumption of alcohol
  • Exercise regularly
  • Consume a diet that includes lots of fruit and vegetables
  • Get treated for OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea)
  • Avoid illegal drugs

It is important to be educated about the symptoms and signs of a stroke. Furthermore, it is essential to take effective measures to reduce the risk of a stroke. This is especially important for those who are considered high risk. In order to prevent major damage, it is important to seek medical attention immediately if someone is experiencing these symptoms or signs.

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Last updated: Jul 3, 2019 at 3:59 AM

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