Regular checkups by your doctor, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly are beneficial tasks for your overall health and wellness. Unfortunately, certain conditions may still develop, even when you attempt to live a healthy lifestyle. An estimated 140,000 people die each year from stroke in the United States, but most people do not fully understand this neurological condition. With this guide on surprising facts and the help of your doctor, you will have a better understanding of the causes, signs, and treatment options for strokes.
The Causes Vary
Each person is different, and each person's stoke is caused by a different issue. However, the problem will stem from a decrease or lack of blood supply going to the brain. Without a sufficient supply of blood, your brain will not receive enough oxygen and nutrients, causing brain cells to die. This is known as a stroke.
A blocked artery, leaking or bursting blood vessel, blood clots, and even a brain hemorrhage are all common causes of strokes.
Age Is Not a Factor
One of the most common misconceptions about a stroke is that they only occur in elderly patients. While surprising to learn, strokes can affect people of all ages. Of course, certain risk factors can increase your risk of a stroke. While some of these risk factors are more likely in older patients, they are still possible in younger patients, as well. Here are a few conditions that can increase your risk of a stroke:
- Physical inactivity
- Smoking cigarettes
- Heavy drinking of alcohol
- Sleep apnea
- High cholesterol
- Cardiovascular disease
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Family history of stroke
Living with high blood pressure also increases your risk of having a stroke. High blood pressure can damage your arteries, causing them to clog and burst. If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor about changing your diet or taking prescription medications to bring levels to a normal level. Normal blood pressure numbers should be less than 120 for your systolic, or upper, reading and less than 80 for your diastolic, or lower, reading.
There Are Signs
Most people will exhibit a few early warning signs before they have a stroke. Learning these signs is imperative for receiving efficient medical care, which can prevent severe brain damage and even death.
To get started understanding the warning signs, learn the phrase, "BE FAST," and which each letter of this phrase represents.
- B is for Balance – If you have a sudden lack of balance, you may have a stroke coming on.
- E is for Eyes – A sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes could be an early warning sign of a stroke.
- F is for Face – A stroke may cause the face to droop on one side. If your face appears uneven or lopsided, you may be having or have had a stroke.
- A is for Arms – Raise both of your arms. One arm dropping down may be a sign of a stroke.
- S is for Speech – Repeat a few simple phrases. If speaking is difficult or your worlds sound muffled and abnormal, it could be a stroke decreasing blood supply to your brain.
- T is for Time – Time is of the essence. If you are experiencing one or more of these signs, call 911 immediately.
Treatment Is Possible
Treatment will depend on the specific type of stroke.
Known as an ischemic stroke, this stroke is caused by a blood clot. Anti-clotting medications will be used to dissolve the clot, reducing the risk of brain damage and further stroke complications. If medication is not successful, catheters may be used to surgically remove the clot from the artery.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain begins to bleed or ruptures. Surgical repair is essential to repair the damaged artery to stop the bleeding the brain. While this is an invasive, complicated procedure, the surgery is imperative for saving your life.
Strokes may seem common, but most people do not know much about the condition. Use this guide to learn more about the causes, signs, and treatment options for strokes, and for more information, check out websites like http://www.neurologist-losangeles.com.