Stroke warning signs and symptoms


Stroke is the most common cause of death and disability in America. It is a critical, life-threatening emergency that occurs when the flow of nutrients and oxygen-rich blood vessels to the brain is blocked. As a result, the brain doesn’t receive the blood and oxygen it needs, so its cells die.

What are the stroke effects?

The brain is a highly complex organ. It controls various functions of the body. For example, because of a stroke, blood flow can’t reach the location that controls a particular body function causing problems with the functioning of a specific body part.

The stroke effect depends primarily on several factors: the obstruction region and the extent of brain tissue affected. However, as one side of the brain regulates the opposite body side, stroke occurring towards one side leads to neurological complications on the side of the body it affects. Once a stroke affects the back of the brain, it likely causes vision disability.

What age group is most affected by stroke?

Stroke may occur to anybody, from children to adults. However, some groups of people have a greater risk; for instance, about two-thirds of strokes happen in people over age 65.

Also, there are some medical conditions that increase stroke risks; they include:

What are the types of stroke?

When clots obstruct the blood flow to the brain, occur ischemic stroke. Once a stroke is caused by blood vessels preventing blood flow to the brain, occur stroke hemorrhagic. Transient stroke (TIA), known as a mini-stroke, is caused by a temporary clot.

Ischemic stroke

This type of stroke is the most common and accounts for about 87% of all strokes. It happens when cells don’t receive enough oxygen-rich blood flow. The leading cause of the stroke is atherosclerosis (fatty deposits lining the vessel walls), which has two types of obstruction. They include:

Cerebral thrombosis. Blood clots (thrombus) may develop at the fatty plaque within the blood vessel.

Cerebral embolism. It happens when blood clots form in the circulatory system, usually the heart and large arteries of the upper chest. The leading cause of embolism is an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. It leads to the formation of clots in the heart that can travel to the brain.

Hemorrhagic stroke

It accounts for about 14% of all stroke cases, and this type of stroke causes bleeding into the surrounding brain. This happens in two ways:

Bleeding inside the brain (intracerebral) occurs when blood vessels inside the brain tear, causing bleeding that puts pressure on the surrounding brain tissue.

Bleeding into the subarachnoid space is a space between the brain and its outer covering. Bleeding into the subarachnoid space puts pressure on the brain tissue underneath.

BE FAST: Know the signs of a stroke

BE FAST algorithm (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) helps identify a stroke’s warning signs.

B-Balance. A sudden loss of balance or coordination is a sign of a stroke.
E-eyes. Be watchful for a sudden loss of vision. For example, a person may experience blurred or double vision in one or both eyes.
F – Face. Look out for face droop on one or both sides. Ask the person to smile. When they fail to do, it signals weakness of muscles or paralysis.
A-Arm. Ask the person to raise their hands. As stroke causes muscle weakness, one arm will sag and drop downward.
S – Speech. People with a stroke lose their ability to speak. They are hard to understand, and they may choose the word words.
T – Time. Time is crucial; once you notice signs of stroke, immediately seek medical help! Please do your best to remember when symptoms start, as it may help your healthcare provider choose the treatment options best for you.

Tests to diagnose stroke

When a healthcare provider suspects a stroke, the person may need to do the following tests:

Lab blood tests

It may help to check your blood for infections and clotting ability. Also, it helps to test the functioning of the kidneys and liver.

Electrocadiogram ECG or OKG

EKG helps to check the heart condition to ensure it isn’t the source of the problem. A portable EKG monitor helps to monitor heart health and share the report with healthcare providers.

Also, your provider may use computerized tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

How to prevent or reduce the risks of having a stroke?

Many people wonder how to prevent a stroke. There are so many things that may help to avoid the risks of having a stroke. However, preventing stroke isn’t impossible; people can only lower the risks. Steps that need to take include:

Lifestyle modification

Eating a healthy diet is the main rule. Exclude added sugar, baked sweets, and processed or high-fat meals. Also, add exercises to your daily routine to improve your overall health. Be sure to get enough sleep (not less than 7-8 hours).

Break bad habits

Avoid smoking, including vaping, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs. All these things significantly increase the chances of having a stroke. When you struggle with any of these, talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may advise some resources to help you to deal with this problem.

Manage your health conditions and risk factors. When you are at greater risk of stroke, try to manage them. See your healthcare provider for a prescription for medication or further checkup that may help evaluate your overall health conditions.
Yearly wellness visits can detect health problems — especially ones that contribute to having a stroke — long before you feel any symptoms. Also, think about changing your lifestyle as it helps to lower the risks of stroke.

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