This posting is dedicated to patients/relatives who intend to know something about stroke and how to live with it. The article was excerpted from National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NSAM) webssite.http://www.nasam.org/english/prevention-what_is_a_stroke.php~Dr. H
Stroke in Malaysia
Stroke is the third largest cause of death in Malaysia. Only heart diseases and cancer kill more. It is considered to be the single most common cause of severe disability, and every year, an estimated 40,000 people in Malaysia suffer from stroke. Anyone can have a stroke, including children, but the vast majority of the cases affect adults.
A stroke is a brain attack and occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. The brain is the nerve center of the body, controlling every thing we do or think, as well as controlling automatic functions like breathing. In order to work, the brain needs a constant blood supply which carries vital oxygen and nutrients. When a blood vessel in your brain bursts or gets clogged, the blood supply stops and the brain cells are deprived of oxygen and nutrients. That part of the brain starts to die. You have a stroke. Very quickly. Very silently. Brain damage affects your senses, your speech and understanding of language. One side of your body may be paralyzed, your behavior, thought and memory patterns are altered.
What causes a stroke?
There are two main types of stroke, and each has different causes. The first type, an ischaemic stroke, occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery serving the brain, disrupting blood supply. Very often an ischaemic stroke is the end result of a build up of cholesterol and other debris in the arteries (atherosclerosis) over many years.
The second main type of stroke is a haemorrhagic stroke, when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts, causing a bleed or hemorrhage. Long-standing, untreated high blood pressure places a strain on the artery walls, increasing their risk of bursting and bleeding.
What are the symptoms?
~Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body. Signs of this may be a drooping face, a dribbling mouth, weakness in the arm or leg.
~Sudden blurred vision of one eye or both eyes.
~Difficulty in speaking or understanding speech, or slurred speech.
~Dizziness, loss of balance, confusion
~Sudden severe headache
~Nausea or vomiting
What are the effects of stroke?
The effects of a stroke vary from person to person, depending on which part of the brain is damaged and the extent of that damage. For some, the effects are relatively minor and short-lived; others are left with more severe, long term disabilities. Common problems include:
What you can do to reduce the risk of stroke?
Become more physically active. Exercising helps to lower blood pressure (high blood pressure is the single biggest risk factor for stroke), controls weight, helps create a healthy balance of blood fats and improves your body's ability to handle insulin. Aim to do some kind of moderate physical activity for 30 minutes for at least five days of the week.
Eat a healthy diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, which research has found, reduces the risk of stroke. A high consumption of salt has been linked to high blood pressure, while too much saturated fat can lead to atherosclerosis (furring of the arteries).
Stay a healthy weight. Being overweight is a risk of a stroke.
Don't smoke. Smoking increases your risk of stroke because it causes atherosclerosis (furring of the arteries) and makes the blood more likely to clot.
It is important to follow your doctor's advice regarding the medication that you should take. High blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol level should be treated optimally with medications. Usually Aspirin or other 'blood-thinning' agent is given to prevent further recurrence of stroke.
Just remember, stroke is 'BRAIN ATTACK'- so seek treatment early!
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