World Stroke Day is observed on 29th October each year around the world. The day is celebrated with an intention of generating awareness among the masses about prevention and treatment of stroke. Stroke, which is also referred to as brain attack occurs when blood supply to the brains gets interrupted. The affected part of the brain does not receive oxygen resulting in cell death.
Stroke is one of the leading reasons behind death and disability globally. Approx 20 million people suffer from stroke around the world. In India alone, 1.5 million people are affected from stroke every year.
What are the risk factors of stroke?
- Lack of exercises
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Taking drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
- High blood pressure
- Consistently high cholesterol levels
- Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Family history of stroke
- Age factor (55 or more)
- Men are at higher risk of stroke than women
What are the symptoms of a stroke?
- Sudden weakness or numbness in arms, face or leg leading to walking trouble
- Sudden dizziness or loss of coordination/balance
- A severe headache accompanied by vomiting, dizziness
- Sudden blurry vision or blackened vision in one or both eyes
- Confusion, difficulty in understanding or speaking
Two types of stroke
- Haemorrhagic stroke: This condition occurs when weakened blood vessels rupture and bleed into the surrounding brain tissue. The blood then accumulates and starts to compress the brain causing the brain cell death.
- Ischemic stroke: This condition occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is blocked which causes brain cells to die affecting an individual’s ability to perform vital functions such as walking or talking.
What are the complications associated with stroke?
- Paralysis on one side of the body or loss of control of some muscles
- Less control over muscles of mouth or throat leading to difficulty talking or swallowing
- Difficulty thinking, making judgements and eventually memory loss
- People who have had strokes find it difficult to control their emotions
- People who have had strokes may have pain, numbness or other strange sensations in parts of their bodies affected by stroke
- Changes in behaviour, socially less active, more withdrawn
Diagnostic lab tests to identify stroke
- Physical examination
- Blood tests
- Computerised tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Carotid ultrasound
- Cerebral angiogram
Prevention of stroke
- Consume a healthy diet containing low-fat, low salt, high-fibre including whole grains, fruit and vegetables
- Stay away from smoking and alcohol intake
- Follow an exercise regime to stay fit
- Practice yoga, meditation regularly to reduce stress
- Regularly monitor your weight, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels
- Never miss an appointment with your doctor
- Go for routine check-up