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Stroke – Everything You Need to Know

Stroke Awareness Month, everything you need to now about a stroke, Prime health partners

The consequences of a stroke can be devastating, causing long-term disability, cognitive impairment, speech difficulties, and even death.

They can strike anyone, regardless of age or gender, although certain risk factors increase the likelihood of experiencing one.

Early recognition and treatment can significantly improve the chances of recovery.

In this blog, we explore what a stroke is, discuss the symptoms and its causes, and highlight preventive measures to safeguard your health and well-being in the future.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted.

This interruption can happen either due to a blockage (ischemic stroke) or the rupture of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).

Regardless of the type of stroke, when the brain cells and tissue are deprived of oxygen, they start to sustain damage, affecting various bodily functions.

Causes of a Stroke

  • High Blood Pressure: Uncontrolled hypertension is a major risk factor for (a) stroke. It can damage the blood vessels, making them more prone to blockages or ruptures.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoking significantly increases the risk of strokes as it damages blood vessels, promotes blood clot formation, and raises blood pressure.
  • High Cholesterol Levels: Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, a condition where fatty deposits accumulate in the arteries, potentially causing a stroke.
  • Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of stroke due to increased chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and arterial damage.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese contributes to various stroke risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Signs & Symptoms

The key symptoms can vary depending on the type of stroke and the area of the brain affected. The most common symptoms include

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes or double vision.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination difficulties.
  • Sudden trouble walking or experiencing a sudden loss of coordination.

It is important to note that these symptoms typically occur suddenly and without warning.

If you or someone else experiences any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.

Remember the acronym BEFAST,

– Balance: Has the person experienced sudden loss of balance?

E – Eyes: Do they have blurred/double vision or loss of vision in one or both eyes?

F – Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?

A – Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T – Time: If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call emergency services immediately!

Preventing a Stroke

Fortunately, many strokes are preventable through simple lifestyle modifications and proactive healthcare measures.

  • Regular Health Checks: Schedule routine health screenings with a healthcare provider, even if you feel fine. Regular screenings can help identify risk factors early on, allowing for timely interventions.
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring: Maintain a healthy blood pressure range. This may vary depending on your age and medical background. Generally the ideal blood pressure is 120/80 or under 130/80.
    High blood pressure (hypertension) is above 140/90 and needs discussion with a doctor.  If you have hypertension, you will need to work closely with your doctor to manage it effectively.
  • Healthy Eating: Follow a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit your salt, sugar, and saturated fat intake.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, manages weight, and reduces the risk.
  • Quit Smoking: Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Your healthcare provider can provide resources and support to help you quit.
  • Manage Cholesterol and Diabetes: Control your cholesterol levels through a healthy diet and, if needed, medication. Similarly, manage diabetes with proper medical guidance.
    During your health screening at Prime Health Partners, our doctors will calculate your personalised risk score of having a stroke after a physical examination with your blood pressure, BMI, and cholesterol screen and compare this to your peer average. This can help us decide if you need cholesterol medication, statins.
  • Maintain Healthy Weight: Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight through a combination of a balanced diet and regular physical activity.

By making a conscious effort to prioritise your health and booking routine health screenings, you can significantly reduce the risk of encountering life-threatening conditions like a stroke.

These screenings serve as preventive measures and enable you to effectively manage potential health issues before they escalate.

At Prime Health Partners, we understand the importance of maintaining optimal health and are committed to supporting you on your journey towards well-being.

Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals is here to provide comprehensive health assessments and screenings tailored to your specific needs.

Through our thorough examinations, we aim to offer an in-depth look at your current health status, identifying any underlying concerns and addressing them early on.

Following your health screening with us, you will receive a personalised report with a summary of the information in this blog and links to healthy diets and free exercise videos.

The Stroke Association offers support and resources to help you rebuild your life after a stroke.

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