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Also known as a cerebrovascular accident, stroke is a medical emergency that arises when arteries that supply blood to the brain get affected. As a result a part of the brain doesn't receive sufficient blood supply. Without blood and nutrient supply, the brain cells get affected and can die within a few minutes. Stroke often results in long-term dysfunction of the body part controlled by the affected brain area. There are two main types of strokes: ischemic stroke and haemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused due to a block (blood clot) in the blood vessel whereas a haemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding through a tear in the blood vessel. Damage occurred by has a huge impact on various aspects of life and well-being. A single stroke can makes a person age by 36 years. People who survive a stroke need rigorous treatment and rehabilitation methods to achieve full recovery. Strokes can be prevented with healthy diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes. Stroke can be more damaging in women and hence women can refer to these guidelines for stroke prevention in women. In this section, you'll find useful articles like identifying symptoms of stroke, improper hypertension medication and risk of strokes, role of oranges in preventing strokes and latest drugs reversing the effect of stroke.

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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.

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.

Risk Factors

Stroke can affect a person at any age but certain factors put you at a greater risk of suffering from a stroke. Here are they:

  1. Age

  2. Family history

  3. Personal history

  4. Gender

  5. Race

  6. Hypertension

  7. Diabetes

  8. High cholesterol levels

  9. Heart disease

  10. Smoking

  11. Obesity

  12. Stress

  13. Conditions affecting the blood vessels

  14. Obstructive sleep apnea

  15. Drug abuse

Here is a detailed information on 15 risk factors of stroke you should know 


Some of the causes that can lead to a stroke are as follows:

  1. Ageing

  2. High blood pressure

  3. Diabetes

  4. Cardiovascular diseases

  5. High cholesterol

  6. Obesity

  7. Vitamin B12 deficiency

  8. Excessive alcohol and drug abuse


Some of the signs and symptoms associated with stroke are:

  1. Numbness

  2. Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body

  3. Sudden confusion

  4. Severe headache

  5. Trouble in speaking, understanding, seeing and walking

  6. Dizziness or loss of balance


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:

  • Lifestyle changes: 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.

  • Medications: 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.

  • Surgery: 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).

  • Physiotherapy: Often, the patient has to undergo physiotherapy to resume daily activities.


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.

  • Exercise regularly: 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.

  • Get some sleep, but not too much: 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.

  • Eat healthy: 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%.

  • Don’t ignore migraine: 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.

  • Pay attention to irregular heartbeats: 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.

  • Don’t be angry: 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. 


The content has been verified by Dr. Nilesh Gautam, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Head of Department of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation at the Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai.


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