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People suffer from a stroke when a part of their stops receiving blood supply. Within a few minutes, their brain cells begin to die and this could result in a long-term dysfunction of the body part controlled by the affected area. In India, stroke is the reason behind one-third of all deaths (0.8 million) caused due to heart disease. Unfortunately, the awareness about this disease is low and it often goes ignored despite the dangers associated with it. In this post, we'll tell you everything you need to know about the deadly disease.
Types of stroke
There are two main types of stroke, ischemic stroke and haemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic stroke: This type of stroke is caused due to a block (blood clot) in the blood vessel. These blocks are caused by internal hardening of the arteries leading to the brain or clogging of arteries within the brain.
Haemorrhagic stroke: This type of stroke is more dangerous and has a higher death rate than haemorrhagic strokes. It is caused when bleeding occurs due to a tear in the blood vessel. This tear may be triggered by injury, excessive alcohol, lack of exercise, smoking and even some drugs like warfarin. Bleeding can occur either within the brain or in between the brain and inside of the skull. (Read: Stroke a reality check for young India)
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
Some of the causes that can lead to a stroke are as follows:
Some of the signs and symptoms associated with stroke are:
If you see a person acting abnormally, use the FAST test to find out if it's a stroke.
Stroke is diagnosed using imaging tests such as CT or MRI scan, along with a clinical examination. An electroencephalography (EEG) test is conducted to determine the possibility of seizures.
The severity of a stroke and the presence of other risk factors determine what treatment a patient has to undergo. Here are some ways in which it is treated:
If a person has suffered from a stroke, he/she may have to make major lifestyle changes like giving up smoking and alcohol, not eating foods high in fat and sugar and exercising regularly.
Certain medicines are prescribed to some patients to reduce the risk of blood clot formation. Some of them are antiplatelet drugs like aspirin and anticoagulants like warfarin.
In cases where the stroke is severe, surgery might be required to resume normal blood flow. Surgeries are performed to unblock the artery (angioplasty) or prevent bleeding in the brain (craniotomy).
Often, the patient has to undergo physiotherapy to resume daily activities.
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.
By now, you would have realised that stroke is a dangerous disease and certainly not something you'd like to experience in your life. In order to keep stroke at bay, here are some tips that you can follow.
Exercising regularly can help prevent stroke. According to a study conducted on 40,000 women over a 12 year period, walking for just 2 hours a week can cut the risk of having a stroke by 30 per cent.
Scientists at Harvard claim that compared to 7 hours of sleep, a 10+ hour sleep can increase your chances of having a stroke by 63%! So make sure you set your alarm accordingly.
Healthy eating habits will improve your immunity and keep you fit. Eating fruits and vegetables will reduce your risk of having heart disease and diabetes, and also keep stroke at bay. Research suggests that eating foods rich in potassium may cut your risk of having a stroke by 20%.
Migraines are really painful, and women are prone to it due to hormonal fluctuations and medications. Research has suggested that migraine can lead to a higher stroke risk among women.
If you heart beats flutter along with shortness of breath, light headedness and chest pain it could indicate atrial fibrillation (AF) which boosts your chances of having a stroke five-fold.
People who have a short-temper and are quick to be angry are at an increased risk of having a stroke, suggests a study published in the journal Hypertension.
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