Research has shown that today, in the United States alone, stroke ranked third as the leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in adults. Stroke takes a back seat only to cardiovascular disease and cancer, which cause more deaths annually. That statistic, in and of itself provides enough motivation for people to have current and accurate stroke information. There is a wealth of stroke information, stroke symptoms, stroke signs, and stroke treatment through medical providers as well as the internet. Each year about 700,000 thousand people become the victim of stroke, out of which 160,000 thousand become fatalities. For those over the age of 55, the risk of stroke is better than one in six.
By recognizing and changing destructive habits, people can reduce the chances of having a stroke. High risk individuals may prevent a major stroke through the use of drugs such as aspirin and a carotid endarterectomy surgical procedure. In the event of a stroke, early treatment may minimize brain damage and potential disability.
More than half of stroke survivors regain functional independence. For those who suffer a stroke, immediate medical assistance is required, just as in any life threatening medical event. However, for stroke victims, time is a critical factor. Delays in treatment will result in greater brain damage and increase the possibility for disability.
The brain is a comparatively small percentage of the body’s over-all weight but uses 25 percent of the bodies’ oxygen and other nutrients. The brain cannot store nutrients like muscles can, thus requires a steady flow of blood to function properly. Stroke occurs when the blood flow supply is less than optimal. Within less than four minutes of being deprived of the oxygen and nutrients supplied by blood, brain cells begin to die.
There are two types of stroke:
Ischemic, which causes about 80 percent of all strokes, is caused by a buildup of cholesterol containing fatty deposits called plaques. The growth of plaques are like sand paper to the inside of arteries. The resultant irregular surface causes blood flow to become turbulent when passing buildups which can develop a clot. A clot can break free which can then block the flow of blood.
Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain either leaks or becomes ruptured. Blood from the hemorrhage encroaches into the surrounding brain tissue causing damage to that tissue. Other brain cells are damaged due to the lack of blood they receive. High blood pressure is the most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke.
If any of the following stroke signs are present, medical help should be summoned immediately:
• Weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg on one side of the body
• Sudden dimness, blurring or loss of vision
• Loss of speech, or trouble speaking or understanding speech
• Sudden, severe headache, with no apparent cause
• Unexplained dizziness or a sudden fall
Additional stroke information to be aware of are risk factors, which include:
• Family history of stroke to parents or siblings
• An increase in age increases the chance of stroke
• Men have a higher risk of stroke than women
• Race – blacks are more likely to have a stroke due to greater risk of high blood pressure and diabetes
There is a wealth of stroke information, stroke symptom, stroke signs, and stroke treatment suggestions through medical providers as well as the internet. The information is as simple as a click away and it behooves everyone to have knowledge of stroke information, its signs and treatment.