Close to 130,000 Americans die each year from a stroke, which is 1 out of every 20 deaths. Those that don’t die from a stroke could face the risk of serious long-term disabilities, and almost a quarter of all strokes (185,000) affect people who have previous suffered from a stroke.
Acting early when someone is having a stroke is incredible important, as the quicker medical treatment can be provided the higher the chance of survival will be. So, it cannot be overstated how vital it is to know the symptoms and warning signs of a stroke!
What is Occurring During a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when brain cells are deprived of sufficient oxygen. Due to a lack of oxygen, these cells will begin to die at an alarming rate – 1.9 million brain cells for every minute during a stroke to be exact.
This results in serious damage to vital parts of the brain, including areas controlling muscles and memories.
Types of Strokes
There are actually three types of strokes:
Ischemic – The most common type of stroke, caused by clots in the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood
Hemorrhagic – Caused by a weakened blood vessel that ruptures
TIA – The least dangerous type of stroke, caused by only a temporary clot. Often referred to as a ‘mini stroke’ or ‘warning stroke’.
Signs and Symptoms to Look for – F.A.S.T
As previously mentioned, the importance of acting fast when someone is having a stroke cannot be overstated. The quicker they can receive treatment, the better their chances of survival and recovery.
There is a simple way to remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke – think F.A.S.T!
F – Facial Drooping
Part of the face, typically just a single side, is drooping and extremely difficult to move.
A – Arm Weakness
A severe inability to move one’s arm. The individual will be unable to raise their arms fully during a stroke.
S – Speech Difficulties
In the event of a stroke, a person will have either a complete inability or extreme difficulty with speech. This includes not being able to talk or to understand someone else speaking.
T – Time
Should any of the above symptoms appear, remember that time is of the upmost importance. Call for medical help or take the person to the hospital immediately.
By implementing various lifestyle changes, the risk of a stroke can be massively reduced. Preventative measures include:
Diet and exercise – Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is by far the most effective way to prevent a stroke. This is because a healthy diet and regular exercise can greatly reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure or cholesterol, both of which can increase the risk of a stroke
Drink Less Alcohol – Excessive alcohol consumption can cause high blood pressure and possible an irregular heartbeat, both of which increases the likelihood of a stroke. Too much alcohol can also lead to weight gain, so always limit how much is consumed.
Avoid Smoking – Smoking can greatly increase the chances of suffering a stroke (not to mention many other adverse conditions) so cutting it out all together is highly recommended. It can cause arteries to narrow, increasing the chances of blood clots, which can in turn lead to a stroke.
Assess Uncontrollable Risk Factors – While out of one’s control, it can provide a better idea about the chances of suffering stroke at some stage. Be mindful of family history, age, and any TIAs or previous strokes.
Medication – Controlling one’s blood pressure and cholesterol through medical treatments can reduce a large risk associated with strokes, the same can be said for treating an irregular heartbeat.
In the event of stroke, there is ground-breaking treatment available, such as the ability to capture blood clots that have been blocking large arteries in the brain. Recent innovations have reduced the time necessary for acute stroke treatment by an incredible 50%
Receiving quick treatment can help reduce the severity of any impairments and disabilities as a result of a stroke.