The Alarming Frequency of Strokes

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Even more shocking, every four minutes, a person succumbs to it. With Saturday 29 October 2023 being Stroke Awareness Day, now’s the time to brush up on the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

The Critical Role of Blood Supply in Brain Function

The brain thrives on a steady blood supply, which delivers the essential oxygen and nutrients. A stroke is the result of this supply being disrupted, either due to blockage or a leak in the blood vessels. The consequence? Brain tissue starts dying off.

Different Types of Strokes Explained

1. Ischemic Stroke: The most prevalent type, it’s caused when blood clots or debris block the blood vessels leading to the brain.
2. Hemorrhagic Stroke: This is when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing internal bleeding. It can be triggered by various factors, from head trauma to weak spots in blood vessels known as aneurysms.
3. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): Dubbed the ‘mini-stroke’, a TIA is a brief loss of blood flow due to a clot or debris. Though it may not cause lasting damage, it’s often a red flag for a potential major stroke down the line.

Recognising the Signs of a Stroke: BE FAST

Both men and women share common stroke symptoms. Since these signs can manifest rapidly, quick detection and medical intervention can be lifesaving. Use the BE FAST acronym:

Balance difficulties and dizziness
Eyesight issues like blurry or double vision
Face drooping or numbness
Arm weakness, especially if one arm drifts downward
Speech difficulties
Time to call emergency services

If someone displays these symptoms, don’t drive them to the hospital. Dial emergency services, inform them of the symptoms, and if necessary, administer CPR.

Do’s and Don’ts for Stroke Victims

Never give someone showing stroke symptoms any medications, food, or drinks. The risk of choking due to weakened facial muscles is heightened.

Who is at Risk and How to Lower It

Strokes aren’t reserved for the elderly. As stated by the CDC, 34% of stroke hospitalisations in 2009 were people under 65. The silver lining? Strokes can be preventable. Top on the list is quitting smoking, which doubles stroke risk. Living a healthy lifestyle with balanced weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol also makes a huge difference.

Conclusion

Time is of the essence when stroke symptoms emerge. Remember the BE FAST mantra and get medical help instantly.

Got more questions on stroke symptoms? Drop them in the comments below!

Source: ProMedica