Knowing the Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

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Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. When the blood supply to a part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, brain tissue is deprived of oxygen and nutrients which causes the cells to die.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017, Guyana ranked as number 19 in the world with 711 or 12.33% of total deaths caused by stroke.
Symptoms
By knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke, you can take quick action and even help save someone’s life.
► Headache- A sudden, severe headache with no known cause, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness.
► Paralysis, numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
► Slurred speech and confusion- Victims may experience difficulty in speaking and pronouncing words as well as understanding. The person will seem confused.
► Blurred vision- Trouble seeing from one or both eyes.
► Trouble with walking- The person may stumble suddenly and experience dizziness and loss of balance and coordination.
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, even if they seem to fluctuate or disappear.

Risk factors
Many factors can increase your risk of a stroke and chances of having a heart attack. Some potential and treatable stroke risk factors include:
► Being overweight or obese;
► Physical inactivity;
► Heavy or binge drinking;
► Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines;
► Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
Other factors associated with a higher risk of stroke include:
► Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or transient ischemic attack;
► Being 55 years or older;
► Race — African-Americans have a higher risk of stroke than people of other races;
► Gender — Men have a higher risk of stroke than women. Women are usually older when they have strokes, and they’re more likely to die of strokes than are men. Also, there may be some risk from some birth control pills or hormone therapies that include estrogen, as well as from pregnancy and childbirth.
Prevention
Adopting a healthy lifestyle and knowing your stroke risk factors is vital in preventing a stroke.
► Controlling high blood pressure (hypertension);
► Lowering the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet. Quitting tobacco use;
► Controlling diabetes;
► Maintaining a healthy weight;
► Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables;
► Exercising regularly;
► Drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all;
► Treating obstructive sleep apnea, if present;
► Avoiding illicit drugs.

Article Categories:
Health · Issue 32

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