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Brain Stroke: Spot it FAST and Stop it

Brain Stroke: Spot it FAST and Stop it

What is Stroke?

Stroke is a Neurological condition where a patient develops weakness of one half of the body, slurred speech or sudden loss of consciousness.

There are two forms of stroke:

  • Ischemic Stroke: Where blood flow to a part of the brain is blocked.
  • Haemorrhagic Stroke: Where blood leaks out of the blood vessels of the brain following rupture of the blood vessels.

How to Spot Stroke?

Symptoms of Stroke

  • SUDDEN onset of weakness or numbness of arm, leg or face – especially on one side of the body
  • SUDDEN difficulty in speaking, confusion or trouble understanding
  • SUDDEN vision trouble in one or both eyes
  • SUDDEN loss of sensations or imbalance
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause

Most common of these are the sudden onset of weakness of one side of the body or any limb, difficulty in speaking, deviation of mouth to one side, poor vision or double vision, loss of sensation or imbalance while walking. Sudden onset of severe headache or loss of consciousness could also indicate stroke. Recent studies have shown that the awareness of stroke symptoms among general population is very low, unlike in the case of a heart attack.

Identifying Stroke
The FAST acronym is useful to identify Stroke:

  • Face Drooping — Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
  • Arm Weakness — Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty — Is speech slurred?
  • Time to call Apollo Emergency — If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call Apollo Emergency and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you will know when the first symptoms appeared

How to Stop Stroke?

One in 4 people worldwide are at risk of stroke in their lifetime. However, almost all strokes can be prevented by addressing a number of key risk factors and taking a few simple steps. Here are some tips that help to reduce our risk of stroke.

Control high blood pressure: Half of all strokes are linked to hypertension. Knowing your blood pressure and controlling it with lifestyle change or medication will reduce your risk of stroke.

Exercise 5 times per week: Over a third of all strokes happen to people who don’t get enough exercise – 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise five times per week will reduce your stroke risk.

Reduce your cholesterol: Over 1 in 4 strokes are linked to high levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Eating less of saturated fats, avoiding processed food and exercise will help to reduce your risk. If you can’t maintain a healthy cholesterol level with lifestyle changes, your doctor may advise medication to help.

Maintain a healthy weight: Almost 1 in 5 strokes are linked to being overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) or Hip to Waist Ratio will help you reduce your risk of stroke.

Stop smoking and avoid smoky environments: Almost 1 in 10 strokes are linked to smoking. Stopping smoking will reduce your risk of stroke and the risks of people who live around you. Get help to quit smoking. It increases your chances of success.

Reduce your alcohol intake: Over 1 Million strokes each year are linked to excessive alcohol consumption. If you drink, keep to a limit of 1-2 units of alcohol a day.

Identify and treat atrial fibrillation: People with AF are 5x more likely to have stroke than the general population. If you are over 50 talk to your doctor about AF screening and if you have AF, be aware of treatments that will reduce your risk.

Manage diabetes: If you are diabetic, you are at higher risk of stroke. Diabetes and stroke also share a number of risk factors including diet and exercise. If you have diabetes , talk to your doctor about how to reduce your stroke risk.

Manage stress and depression: Almost 1 in 6 strokes are linked to mental well-being. Managing stress, depression, anger and anxiety are all important to reducing stroke risk.

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