- Word Stroke Day: In a stroke the brain does not receive enough blood
- Sedentary lifestyle increases stroke risk
- If not treated on time stroke can lead to death
World Stroke Day 2020: Stroke is a brain attack that occurs when the blood flow to the brain is restricted. In this condition the brain cells begin to die due to deprivation of oxygen supply. This loss of brain cells during a stroke affects the particular abilities that are particularly controlled by the brain, resulting in loss of memory, motor skills, muscle control, paralysis or even death, if left unattended. Stroke can be of two types - Ischemic (a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot) and Hemorrhagic (when the affected blood vessel in the brain starts bleeding due to weakened blood vessel walls).
World Stroke Day 2020: Who is at a risk?
While the peak age for the onset of stroke is usually 55 to 65 years but with the poor lifestyle, the age bracket has come down. Apart from non-modifiable risk factors like genetics, hereditary reasons and family history, modifiable risk factors include high blood pressure, coronary heart diseases, diabetes, physical inactivity, high cholesterol levels and unhealthy lifestyle.
Also read: Know How To Recognise A Stroke
High blood pressure is the leading risk for stroke. When blood pushes too forcefully against the walls of your arteries, it can damage or weaken them and lead to stroke. Unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle (physical inactivity) leads to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and builds up cholesterol which contributes to plaque buildup in arteries, which can block blood flow to the brain.
Since the risk of stroke increases among the aging population, men above the age of 55 years are more susceptible for occurrence of stroke than women of the same age. The major risk factors among women include - excessive use of birth control pills, pregnancy at later age may increase the blood pressure putting stress on the heart, and even those women with chronic migraine complaints are at a three times higher risk of stroke.
What are the symptoms?
Sudden weakness or numbness of face, arms legs especially on one side of the body and may have trouble walking. Few people face cognitive impairments like trouble speaking or understanding and remain confused. Loss of vision accompanied by severe headache may also be a symptom for the start of stroke.
Is stroke treatable?
Fortunately stroke is curable with timely intervention, but the brain conditions cannot be reversed as once a stroke happens, there is a certain amount of brain damage. The first 6 hours after stroke are the golden hour for stroke treatment. There are medical as well as surgical treatments - neurologists may prescribe blood thinners or antihypertensive which has the ability to interfere with the bloods ability to clot.
Surgical procedures include carotid artery surgery which helps in removal of the fatty plaques from the blocked blood vessel. Angioplasty can also be done to open up the blockage using stents. Gains can happen quickly or over time depending on various factors like - area of the affected part, how much part was affected and patient's motivation. The most rapid recovery usually occurs during the first three to four months after a stroke.
The good news is that 80 percent of all strokes are preventable. It starts with managing key risk factors, including high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, atrial fibrillation and physical inactivity. More than half of all strokes are caused by uncontrolled hypertension or high blood pressure, making it the most important risk factor to control.
(Dr. Vipul Gupta, Director, Neurointervention, Artemis - Agrim Institute of neurosciences, Gurgaon)
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