Stroke can be understood as a brain attack. It is caused by the interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain. When blood flow is denied to the brain for longer than a few seconds and the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, brain cells can die, and the abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. The onset of ischemic stroke which restricts blood and oxygen flow to the brain, can damage 1.9 million nerve cells every second.
Stroke can victimise anyone, within any age group. The belief that it is restricted to the elderly or that women are not prone to it, are based on misconceptions and lack of awareness. Lack of physical activity, lifestyle changes, smoking, drinking, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity are some of the major causes of stroke.
As stroke can affect the functioning of important parts of the body, it is important to ensure early recognition for proper diagnosis.
The changes in Face, Arms, Speech and Time (F.A.S.T) are critical to know if a person will undergo a stroke anytime soon. Uneven Face like drooping of the mouth, one Arm hanging down and slurred Speech are some of the common symptoms of a stroke. Timely treatment can help prevent the same from occurring. At the very first symptom of a stroke, the patient should be rushed to a hospital with a CT scan facility.
There are 15 million people worldwide who suffer a stroke each year, making stroke the most common cause of death after ischemic heart disease. While most succumb to stroke and die, others are left permanently disabled. Stroke has been the ground for numerous myths and false facts. The most common of them is the belief that it is a form of heart attack or a type of seizure. Stroke occurs when there is a lack of blood supply to the brain that leads to brain damage. It can be a clog or a rupture in a blood vessel, which can be presented with seizures. Although stroke and heart disease are closely related, they’re not the same. Strokes primarily revolve around the brain.
The other common misconception is that stroke is uncommon; while in reality, 1 in 6 people suffer from stroke in their lifetime. Also, it is absolutely untrue that if the stroke symptoms resolve after a few minutes, there is no need to seek medical attention. Transient Ischemic Attack can leave a person susceptible to subsequent strokes; hence, medical care is essential.
Strokes can be prevented with careful attention to lifestyle. Managing blood pressure, diabetes, tracking cholesterol and seeking medical attention for heart conditions or irregularities are all necessary and effective steps. An active lifestyle can greatly reduce the risk of stroke.
There are no warning signs for a stroke. Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke” can give a forewarning, but others are caught completely off-guard.
Women are especially affected by stroke. They have a higher mortality rate than men, and there are gender-specific risk factors such as pregnancy and hormonal therapies. In terms of stroke recovery, about 10 per cent recover almost completely; 25 per cent recover with minor impairments; 40 per cent experience moderate to serve impairments requiring special care; and 10 per cent require care in a nursing home.
Stroke patients can be saved to live a life after stroke by recognizing the symptoms quickly and providing proper medical care to the patients within 4½ hours (window period). Timely intervention and admission to the nearest stroke unit helps the patient to reverse their stroke symptoms and strike out the dangers of stroke.