This serious medical emergency needs awareness and timely treatment in order to prevent death or disability. In most cases like 80% of them strokes are preventable but stil remain 3rdleading cause of death in the US. Nearly 150,000 Americans die from a stroke annually, and even though healthy lifestyle choices may decrease risk, over half a million Americans suffer a stroke each year.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a “brain attack”. The brain is the epicenter of all function in your body (i.e. movement, digestion, emotion), and needs an adequate supply of oxygen from the blood to properly function. A stroke occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain, disrupting the blood supply. Without enough oxygen the brain cells die, resulting in brain damage, disability, and even death. This type of stroke, an Ischemic Stroke, accounts for over 85% of strokes. Another, less common, type of stroke is called a Hemorrhagic Stroke, and occurs when there is a bleed in the brain.
Which are the risk factors?
The factors that cannot be controlled are: age, gender, race and genetics. In most cases stroke is often seen in adults over 65, but one-fourth of people young than 65 are also victim of this condition. Nationally, women lead in stroke occurrences, having 55,000 more strokes each year compared to men.
The risks that can be controlled are: Stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and tobacco use. All can be controlled through healthier choices such as healthier food, more exercise, and monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Besides the other name for strokes which is brain attack, acute severe head pain is not the most common sign.
These are the most serious signs:
Face drooping (Lose control over one side of your mouth/face? Is your smile crooked?)
Arm weakness (Hard to move your arm? Can you raise both arms? does one drift down?)
Speech difficulty (Slurred speech? Are your words coming out wrong?)
Time to call 911 (Get to the hospital and keep track of what time the symptoms first appeared)
Oftentimes people do not recognize the signs or just see them as anomalies that will pass with time. “Maybe I lifted too much weight?” “Didn’t get enough sleep” I’ll just wait.” DON’T WAIT! Early action is critical. Waiting can be the difference between recovery or brain damage. Survival or death. It is recommended that a person receives care within 3 hours of the initial symptoms. Care within this 3 hour “golden window” may greatly improve chances of survival and recovery.
Strokes do not discriminate or chose who ever going to happen. The statistic is known, the risks are divided to controllable and uncontrollable.. but the lifestyle is certainly options that you can change. Take it easy with the unhealthy food, move your body by doing exercising or simple walk would be enough.
Make your regular medical checkups and try to maintain good blood pressure and cholesterol level.