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Stroke - Know the risk factors and warning signs

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Stroke - Know the risk factors and warning signs

Vinny Sood
Neurosciences, Neurology
Neurosciences, Neurology

Although stroke is one of the leading causes of death globally, many people remain unaware of the signs and symptoms to look out for, therefore putting their health at risk.

What is stroke?

A stroke occurs when an artery or blood vessel becomes blocked, restricting blood flow to the brain. This leads to brain cell death, and, subsequently, brain damage.

How a person is affected by stroke depends on where in the brain the stroke occurs and how much of the brain is disturbed. Many stroke patients experience impaired speech, movement and memory. In severe cases, patients may suffer paralysis or even death.

Types of stroke -

    • ischemic stroke - This occurs when the arteries are blocked by blood clots or a gradual build-up of plaque and other fatty deposits.
    • hemorrhagic stroke - Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain splits, leaking blood into the brain.

The risk factors

Many of risk factors for stroke are out of our control.

  • Age
  • Family History of stroke or Transient Ischemic attack

The controllable risk factors for stroke

  • high blood pressure, or hypertension.
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Overweight or obese .

“At least half of strokes could be prevented if people made simple lifestyle changes, such as keeping blood pressure under control and exercising more."

Awareness - Act F.A.S.T

Know the warning signs and symptoms of stroke.

The main symptoms of stroke include sudden drooping or numbness on one side of the face, weakness or numbness in one arm and difficulty with speech. Recognize the symptom F.A.S.T

  • F. Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Is their smile uneven?
  • A. Arm Weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S. Speech Difficulty: Is the person's speech slurred? Are they able to speak or hard to understand? Ask them to repeat a simple sentence. Can they repeat it accurately?
  • T. Time to call hospital

Transient Ischemic Attack :

Transient Ischemic Attack (Mini-Stroke) - It occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked for a short time, temporarily restricting blood flow to the brain.

The Symptoms & signs

Symptoms of TIA are similar to those of stroke, but they tend to last for shorter periods.

A person may experience

  • sudden numbness of the face, arm or leg - particularly on one side
  • sudden confusion
  • have trouble speaking
  • problems with sight in one or both eyes
  • dizziness