Stroke – Prevention First to Minimize the Risk

strokeA stroke is one of the most common occurring health situations that can render lethal effects if not attended to immediately.

The condition should be addressed properly and people should make the necessary adjustments and take the preventive measures to avoid it as much as possible. There are instances wherein stroke only happens once but immediately causes the death of the affected individual. It’s best to know all about the potential risks, causes and effects to stay safe. Knowing the proper interventions and remedies will be equally useful to saving lives all around the world. Here are some tips.

Stroke in General

Stroke or cardiovascular accident is a condition wherein a blood vessel that supplies oxygen, blood and nutrients to the brain is blocked. It is the counterpart of a heart attack. The brain attack is known as a medical emergency so once the person shows the symptoms, emergency medical attention should be given to prevent lifelong complications or death.

The patient will present a number of signs and symptoms depending on the particular region of the brain that has incomplete blood supply. The person will exhibit different characteristics due to the damage caused to the brain. When blood is not supplied to the different areas of the brain, the brain cells and tissues will die thereby causing impairment in behavior, manner of thinking and actions.

Every year, 750,000 people suffer from a stroke. The mortality rate is about half, although it tends to decrease with immediate medical care. Stroke is the third condition with the highest mortality rate just after heart disease and cancer.

Most patients who suffer a cardiovascular accident are usually older adults. There seems to be a special predisposition among Hispanics and African-Americans. There’s also a condition known as a mini stroke or TIA or transient ischemic attack, wherein people will present the same symptoms as an actual stroke although these disappear in just one day. It is an early warning sign that the person is especially at risk for experiencing the full form in the future.

The Types of Stroke

The types of stroke are generally categorized based on the particular causes. There two namely ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. The ischemic type is the more common among the two, occurring in about 80% to 85% of patients. The condition occurs when a blood vessel inside the brain is blocked. The hemorrhagic type happens when the blood vessel inside the brain breaks, leaks or bursts. The latter type is the more serious and usually has poor prognosis.

About the Two Kinds of Stroke

The ischemic stroke happens when the blood vessel is clogged or becomes narrower. This can be due to the accumulation and formation of plaques or fatty deposits. People eating very fatty, oily and unhealthy food will contribute to arteriosclerosis wherein cholesterol and plaques will stick to the blood vessel walls, thereby limiting the amount of blood that can pass through.

Once blood cannot go through completely or the brain receives very little oxygen and nutrients, the person will suffer a stroke. Some of the warning signs of plaque buildup in the vessels include rapid heartbeat and pulse and high blood pressure. The cholesterol levels of patients also need to be monitored to check the risk. The problem can also be due to emboli or blood clots that block the arteries leading to the brain.
The hemorrhagic stroke is the more serious and occurs when blood cannot properly flow into the brain because of an existing leak or opening in the blood vessel. The bursting of the blood vessel or aneurysm can be due to excessive pressure. When the leaking occurs within the brain, the pressure inside the skull or cranium will also increase. Doctors need to attend to the bleeding as well as prevent the brain from suffering further damage due to lack of blood and oxygen. About 30% to 50% of patients die with this condition.

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How to Prevent a Stroke

The main approach to stroke should be prevention, instead of cure. Preventive measures should be practiced by individuals long before the initial warning signs are present. Monitoring is essential especially among older adults. Check the blood pressure, cholesterol levels and heart rate of individuals. Check the blood cholesterol. The LDL or low-density lipoprotein should be low while the HDL or high-density lipoprotein, also known as good cholesterol, should be high. If the patient feels any chest pain, rapid heartbeat or difficulty breathing, have him assessed by a cardiologist.

Individuals should also practice very healthy dietary habits and get sufficient exercise. Eat foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Eat more fiber and drink a lot of water. Avoid very sugary treats and only eat these in moderation.

Limit caloric intake within prescribe levels and weigh yourself often. It’s best to limit your weight within the recommended average prescribed by doctors. People should also get enough exercise by doing some cardiovascular activity and weigh training 3 to 5 times every week. Lack of sleep, stress and other environmental factors tend to contribute to the occurrence of stroke.

Treatment of Stroke

There are a number of medications that will help patients lower their current blood pressure so that the heart will not be overtaxed. Oxygen will also be provided to patients to guarantee that the vital organs receive enough of these and cells do not die. Monitoring is always needed to check the current condition of the patient.

In extreme cases, the patient will have to undergo surgery for a bypass procedure which will provide a shunt that will properly allow blood to flow to the brain in case the vessel is rendered damaged severely. Surgery might also be needed to lower the intracranial pressure. The excess blood will be drained to relieve the pressure.

Medications to get rid of the clot will also be administered. The effects of stroke can be temporary or permanent depending on the extent of the damage. Patients are advised to change their lifestyle after the occurrence since it is highly possible for some to have more than one incident of stroke if they continue unhealthy habits.