Sunday, July 26, 2009
By Barb Hicks
Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain has been halted
due to a clot or bleeding into the brain. Therefore, blood
is unable to reach all destinations of the brain, resulting
in a stroke. The person experiencing a stroke will begin to
exhibit signs and symptoms. Some signs come and go usually
within 5 minutes and leave no lasting effects. However,
symptoms lasting longer may indicate a major stroke is
occurring. Even if symptoms are short lived, it is
imperative to get medical help immediately. If not treated
as soon as possible, major brain damage and lifelong
disabilities could result.
What are the signs?
- Tingling sensation in the face or extremities - Paralysis
or weakness on one side - Difficulty speaking - Inability to
understand speech - Blindness - Dizziness - Pain -
Nausea/vomiting - Sudden intense headache
If you believe someone around you is experiencing these
symptoms call 011 and seek the help of medical professionals
Risk Factors for Stroke:
- Age: At age 55 the risk of stroke doubles every ten years
after - Race - Gender: Typically, women are less likely to
experience a stroke than men - Previous stroke - Fractures
resulting in a fat embolism - Family History - Atrial
Reducing your risks:
Take all medications prescribed by your physician. Monitor
blood pressure. Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Quit Smoking. Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of exercise.
Physicians use a CT, MRI or Angiogram to determine the
location of a stroke, the amount of damage it caused as well
as what type of stroke was experienced.
Treatment involves clot busters, such as tPA that must be
given within hours of the onset of symptoms. Surgical
intervention is an option for ischemic and hemorrhagic
Care after stroke:
Recovery after a stroke may take a few days to over a year
to complete. In many cases, occupational, physical and
speech therapy may be required.
Types of Medications:
Thrombolytics - Clot busters that loosen or break up blood
clots. The debris is cleaned up by phagocytic cells.
Antiplatelet - Prevents platelet s from sticking together,
thus preventing clot formation. Anticoagulants - Stops
clots from forming, particularly those with A-fib who are
prone to blood clots due to the rapid contractions of the
atria of the heart.
If you have other diseases such as diabetes or high blood
pressure, it is very important to monitor and manage them
properly. Proper care will help ensure that the risk of a
stroke is lessened and a quality, productive life prevails.
Having an exercise regimen at least three days a week can
lower blood pressure. Blood pressure is the number one
factor in bringing on a stroke or hemorrhagic strokes.
A healthy diet containing fresh fruits, whole grains and
nuts, vegetables and lean meats is another great way to help
lessen the risks for stroke.
Barb Hicks is a licensed registered nurse and featured
health writer on Clivir.com. You can find here her lessons
Stroke Causes and other information about
Early Warning Signs of Stroke.