What is stroke?
Stroke occurs due to problems with the blood supply of the brain. The blood supply is either blocked or there's a sudden rupture in one of the blood vessels in the brain. Stroke is popularly known as a brain attack. Once the brain is deprived with the proper supply of oxygen, it begins to die. Within minutes, brain cells start to die. And when brain cells die, abilities such as memory and muscle control fails and crashes.
There are two main kinds of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic stroke cases are higher compared to the hemorrhagic stroke cases. Ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel. Meanwhile, the hemorrhagic stroke is usually caused by a blood vessel that ruptured and bleed in the brain. However, there are instances when a person experiences mini strokes. These mini attacks are called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). Transient ischemic attacks strike when the blood supply to the brain is suddenly interrupted.
Stroke remains as the second leading cause of death among Filipinos in the Philippines. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) data of 2014 , 63, 261 Filipinos died because of stroke. Among these 63, 261 stroke cases, 44, 282 Filipinos died from an ischemic stroke while 18, 973 Filipinos died from a hemorrhagic stroke. A stroke can happen every 40 seconds and in every four minutes, someone dies from stroke.
Stroke occurs quickly, and like its symptoms, it can suddenly appear without the person even noticing it. The main symptoms of stroke are as follows:
- Confusion - This symptom often comes with trouble with speaking and understanding.
- Severe headache - The headache usually occurs sudden with no known cause.
- Numbness - The numbness happens on the face, arm, or leg, particularly the numbness affect one side of the body.
- Vision problems - A person suddenly has trouble with their vision in one or both eyes.
- Trouble with one's motor skills - This symptom comprises trouble with one's walking and lack of body coordination.
If you experience any of these symptoms of stroke, you must get to a hospital quickly to begin treatment. Make sure to seek the medical assistance of a neurologist. Stroke needs to be diagnosed and treated during its early stages to minimize or prevent brain damage. Once a patient displays several alike symptoms of stroke, the neurologist must not only confirm the presence of these stroke symptoms, but also identify which type of stroke the patient has. The neurologist must know its location, and the extent of the brain damage. The treatment depends on the type of stroke the person has for treatment decisions hinge on all the said issues.
Stroke is preventable once the underlying causes has been addressed. The best tip for a person to prevent stroke is to change their current lifestyle into a healthy one. Here is a list of simple tweaks that you can do to live a healthier lifestyle:
- Eat meals that are rich in fruits and vegetables, and are low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
- Exercise at least 15-30 minutes daily.
- Keep one's blood pressure and glucose level under control.
- Try to maintain a healthy weight.
- If possible, quit drinking and smoking.
With these lifestyle changes, stroke prevention is possible!
"What is Stroke?" by National Stroke Association
"Stroke" by Medline Plus