It’s May, the month of ‘Stroke Awareness’. Known as the No. 5 reason behind deaths in the US, it really is important to know and educate people about stroke, how to recognize it, its symptoms and ways to reduce the incidence of getting it. Here in this blog, we have covered all these aspects to keep you safe and away from this deadly turmoil.
Going by the statistics, at least one person in the United States encounters a stroke every 40 seconds. What’s more depressing is the fact that this health issue not only creates mobility challenges and difficulties in performing everyday activities but is also the main cause of long-term disability. However, the good news is that up to 80% of strokes can be easily prevented.
What Exactly Stroke Is?
Our brain is our body’s command central and controls everything we do. Be it the way we think, the way we eat, the way we move or anything, it’s the brain that monitors every action. Stroke refers to ‘brain attack’ and takes place when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted. Ruptured blood vessel in the brain or a clot blocking a blood vessel is the reason behind it. When a part of the brain does not get proper blood flow, it becomes difficult for it to control its functions due to lack of oxygen supply. As a result, body part controlled by the damaged brain stops working the way it should.
The Warning Signs (The ‘FAST’ code)
It is interesting to know that the acronym ‘FAST’ is developed with an aim to raise awareness about stroke symptoms and how to recognize it. Check it out below:
F (face) – ask the patient to smile. Look carefully for an uneven smile, as one side of the mouth will be seen drooping.
A (arm) – ask the patent to raise both their arms and look for one arm either lagging behind or not able to be lifted easily.
S (speech) – ask the patient to speak a simple sentence in order to listen slurred speech or the inability to talk.
T (time) – time to call for emergency medical assistance
- Unexpected difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden difficulty in walking, standing and coordinating
- Sudden numbness or weakness in legs, arms, face, particularly on side of the body
- Confusion in understanding or speaking
- Unexpected nausea, severe headache and vomiting
Some of the easiest and effective ways to prevent stroke include:
- Avoiding smoking
- Involving in physical activity
- Managing carotid artery disease
- Controlling high cholesterol
- Managing diabetes
- Managing high blood pressure
- Weight management
- Treating atrial fibrillation and other heart arrhythmias
Unfortunately, it is not possible to control every risk factor owing to one’s age, hereditary factors and experience with a prior stroke. However, it is possible to reduce the chances by talking with a health car expert or doctor and ask for helpful ways to manage personal risk factors.
Advances in Stroke Treatment
Studies show that approximately US has 7 million stroke survivors. Though every stroke has an impact on the brain in one or the other way, physical limitation and some sort of disability are the most common effects. Limb weakness or paralysis, visual changes, swallowing difficulties and balancing problems are some of the physical challenges possible. Apart from these, it becomes difficult to speak, understand words & sentences, read, write, think and control emotions. It is important to know that a stroke survivor may become anxious, irritable, impulsive, depressed or forgetful. He/she may also find difficulty in planning, memory and organizing.
With rehabilitation done the right way, it is possible to get back to performing daily activities and recover of mobility, independence, quality of life.
Make the best of this ‘Stroke Awareness Month’ by learning all about stroke prevention, identifying its signs & symptoms and managing the risk factors.