Stroke: What do you need to know? 

What is a stroke? 

A stroke or a brain attack, in simple terms, is a sudden disruption in the blood flow to the brain. 

There are two types of strokes:  

  • Ischemic – The most common type of stroke caused due to blockage in a blood vessel supplying the brain. As they are deprived of nutrients and oxygen supply, brain cells begin to die within minutes. 
  • Hemorrhagic – It happens when an artery in the brain bursts open or starts leaking blood. This excess blood puts too much pressure on the brain cells, which damages them. 

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini-stroke.” It is caused when blood flow to the brain is blocked for only a short time—usually no more than 5 minutes. It is a warning sign of future strokes and should not be taken lightly. 

 

CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) statistics say that: 

  • In the U.S. someone has a stroke every 40 seconds. 
  • Annually, over 795,000 people (about half the population of Nebraska) in the United States have a stroke, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer.  

The good news is that stroke is Preventable & Treatable. Call us @ 718-DORAL-500. 

 

Symptoms 

“Stroke can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone.” 

For this reason, you must be aware of the most common symptoms. These include: 

  • SPEECH DIFFICULTIES: Sudden confusion, trouble understanding what others are saying or difficulty in speaking and swallowing. 
  • DISTURBED NEUROMUSCULAR COORDINATION:  
  • Trouble walking. You may stumble or lose your balance or get dizzy.  
  • Sudden numbness or weakness or paralysis of just one side of the body (mostly the face, arm or leg). 

  Try raising both arms over your head. If you can’t or one of your arms begins to fall, you are having a stroke. One side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile when you are having a stroke.

  • VISION DIFFICULTIES: You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or you may see double. 
  • HEADACHE: A sudden, severe headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting and/or dizziness may indicate that you’re having a stroke. 

Sounds a bit complicated? Don’t worry, The  American Stroke Association has put forward an amazingly easy and effective system to identify the symptoms of a stroke. 

Risk factors 

  • CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) data shows that the major risk factors associated with stroke include High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. With one in every 3 American adults having at least one of these health issues, it is necessary to have a knowledge of the risk factors of Strokes.
  • Other Risk factors include: 
  • Old Age (People aged 55 or older have a higher risk of stroke) 
  • Race/ethnicity (African Americans and Hispanics have a higher risk of stroke) 
  • Sex (Men have a higher risk of stroke than women) 
  • Hormones (Use of birth control pills or hormone therapies) 
  • Physical inactivity 
  • Heavy or binge drinking 
  • Use of illegal drugs 
  • Cigarette smoking or secondhand smoke exposure 
  • Obstructive sleep apnea 
  • Heart disease (including infection, heart defects, or irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation or heart failure) 
  • Family history of stroke or heart disease. 
  • Recent COVID-19 infection 

Complications 

Depending on the extent of brain damage, a stroke can result in temporary or permanent disability. Complications may include: 

  • Paralysis or loss of muscle control 
  • Difficulty talking or swallowing 
  • Memory loss 
  • Behavioral changes and depression. 
  • Pain, numbness, or tingling sensations 

Prevention 

The best way to prevent a stroke is to understand the risk factors, follow your health care provider’s recommendations, and live a healthy lifestyle. 

 In general, these include: 

  • Maintaining a healthy weight. 
  • Staying active and exercising regularly 
  • Eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats.  
  • Controlling high blood pressure (hypertension).  
  • Managing diabetes. 
  • Quitting Smoking and tobacco use 
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all.  
  • Treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  
  • Avoiding illegal drugs (such as cocaine and methamphetamine)