Stroke: signs of stroke, how to prevent it and what to do if it happens

Stroke is essentially a medical condition in which there is a disruption in blood flow to a certain area of the brain resulting in death of brain cells. This is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In this region of the world, majority of individuals present to the hospital over 24 hours after initial insult which contributes greatly to the complications associated with stroke. In the management of stroke, it is recommended that active treatments like revascularization should commence as soon as possible but not longer than 4.5 hrs/ 6 hours depending on the case. So, it is evident that time is a crucial part of managing stroke.

Risk Factors

Modifiable risk factors                                                                Unmodifiable risk factors

  • Hypertension                                                           – Old Age
  • Diabetes Mellitus                                                    -History of stroke
  • Dyslipidemia                                                             – Family History of stroke
  • Insulin resistance – Race(Africans, Hispanics)
  • Abdominal Obesity – Male gender
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Alcoholism
  • Cardiac dysfunctions
  • Use of drugs like cocaine
  • Presence of intracranial aneurysms

Prevention of Stroke

It is important to firmly adhere to your treatment and doctor’s advice in order to achieve good control in hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. Studies have shown that adapting a healthy lifestyle (i.e. eating healthy food choices and maintaining a reasonable serving size combined with exercise) can significantly help with abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. In conclusion, it is important to view your body as a temple and treat it as such.

Signs and symptoms of stroke

How to quickly recognize a stroke.

The presenting signs and symptoms may differ depending on the area of the brain which was affected. The common and important thing to remember that the symptoms of stroke are usually of sudden onset. Some symptoms include:

  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of face/limbs
  • Inability to speak
  • Visual disturbance
  • Headache, nausea and vomiting usually due to increased intracranial pressure
  • Confusion
  • Impaired level of consciousness

Complications

The complications associated with stroke are numerous and not everybody gets them

  • Even after treatment, there could be reduced function there by limiting the individual’s ability to undertake some daily activities like walking, seeing, remembering
  • Depression can occur
  • Pneumonia, pressure ulcers, undernutrition are common complications among bedridden patients

Treatment

  • Visit a doctor as soon as you suspect these signs. It is better to be safe than sorry
  • Additionally, Physiotherapist and Psychiatrist play an important role in the post hospital patient care.

Published by Gray Healthcare Foundation

A Non Governmental organisation with Headquarters in Africa ,dedicated to uplifting the health of the elderly population .Passionate about the elderly , we drive increased inclusivity ,availability of essential health care services, advocacy and research for those aged 60 years and above.

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