By the time someone tries to read a single row of this article, one person in US will get a stroke or die. Stroke is lately more common reason for the death of many Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives some approximate number of 140,000 people killed by stroke. So, depending on your reading speed, as soon as you finish reading this article, about 10 suffer a stroke. Actually one of 20 deaths is caused by a stroke.
In the past, there were some records that stroke attacks seniors, but nowadays almost one third of the hospitalized young people suffered a stroke. The CDC estimate that death of 140,000 Americans a year is due to a stroke, that’s one out of 20 deaths or every 40 seconds a person gets killed by stroke.
In some cases stroke can be the reason for increasing the costs of each state at about $34 billion dollars a year spent in medical treatments, health care services and missing out from work. All these depend of only one very important issue – speed. The sooner the symptoms are recognized, the faster and better treatment will the person get, preventing from long term disability and death.
Are there many types of stroke?
There are few types of stroke but maybe the most common is the ischemic stroke. It is a state when the blood supplied by the blood vessels is obstructed by fatty deposits during the flow, also known as atherosclerosis. A significant number of strokes, almost 87% are from this type.
Another type is the Hemorrhagic stroke. Almost 13% of strokes are due to this type. It is a stroke caused by the ill-treatment of high blood pressure, which when is high causes bleeding inside the brain. This bleeding damages the brain tissue and causes cell death.
Both conditions are dangerous and cause a lot of damage to the brain if they last longer. The longer the stroke lasts, the bigger is the chance for severe damage of the brain and death.
The transient ischemic attack is also a type of stroke that needs to be mentioned in this article. The doctors also call it ministroke because it causes temporary blood flow blockage to the brain cells, symptoms are not noticeable and are ignored sometimes. It is in a way a warning for a bigger stroke.
What are the most important symptoms?
The perfect term of use to define symptoms is the acronym FAST (face, arm, speech and time). Time is essential in this situation and this term is easy to be remembered and applied even by a nonmedical person.
American stroke association has few simple ways to define this term. The face impression is very important. So the first thing that needs to be considered is the face drooping. One should ask the person with stroke to try to smile and scans al the reactions. Next and also important is the arm weakness. We should ask the person to move his arm or raise them both up, and we should pay attention to the movements.
Speech, which stands for the S, is another important part of the symptoms. A person with stroke has slurred speech, speaks hardly or not at all. In order to confirm the state, we should ask the person to try to repeat simple words or a sentence.
And, of course, if the person shows some of these signs, maybe the best is to call emergency and take him to hospital.
Symptoms mentioned above maybe the most common, but they are not the only one. Sometimes women have different ones than men. Sudden confusion or numbness, sight problems, vomiting, trouble walking and maintaining balance and many more, are also worth mentioning.
What’s the best treatment?
Both types of stroke – ischemic and hemorrhagic, if treated properly and on time can prevent bigger damage. Ischemic stroke is treated best tPA intravenously, a medicine that must be given in the first three hours after the stroke. It dissolves the blood clot very fast and relieves the blood flow to the brain. It can also be treated with surgery by removing the blood clot from the blocked vessel.
On the other hand, surgery is the only treatment for hemorrhagic stroke. The surgeons perform it in order to close the blood vessel and stop bleeding. In this way the pressure to the brain is relieved. Sometimes inserting a mechanical device is necessary to be able to block the opening where the vessel bleeds.
Is there prevention?
American stroke association proved that a large number of strokes can be prevented only by the changing lifestyle. Usually, people with high blood pressure suffer from stroke, so controlling it is on the top of the list of preventions. Healthy food and weight, being physically active and staying away from smoke maintain it on a recommended level.
High blood sugar can be another reason for stroke. By reducing it, we reduce the risk of stroke. Also problems with heart and irregular heart beat may cause atrial fibrillation. Is some researches it is proved that blood clots appear from a irregular structure in the upper left chamber where this fibrillation actually starts. If this heart problem is fixed, the risk level is lowered. So every illness has cure and prevention from slowing down or stopping it completely.
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