A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced. This deprives your brain of oxygen and nutrients, which can cause your brain cells to die.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Almost half of all strokes are linked to hypertension
- Over a third of all strokes happen to people who don’t have a regular exercise
- Almost one-fourth of strokes are linked to poor diet
- More than 1 in 4 strokes are linked with high levels of bad cholesterol
- Almost 1 in 5 strokes are linked to obesity
- Almost 1 in 10 strokes are linked to smoking
- Over 1 million strokes each year are linked to excessive alcohol consumption
- 9% of strokes are linked to an irregular heartbeat or other heart condition
Signs and Symptoms
- Trouble with speaking and understanding: You may experience confusion. You may slur your words or have difficulty understanding speech.
- Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg: You may develop sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis in your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of your body. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Similarly, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile.
- Trouble with seeing in one or both eyes: You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or you may see double.
- Headache: A sudden, severe headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness, may indicate you’re having a stroke.
- Trouble with walking:You may stumble or experience sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
Risk Factors for Stroke
- Being overweight or obese
- Physical inactivity
- Heavy or binge drinking
- Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
Medical Risk Factors
- High blood pressure — the risk of stroke begins to increase at blood pressure readings higher than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Your doctor will help you decide on a target blood pressure based on your age, whether you have diabetes and other factors.
- Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
- High cholesterol.
- Obstructive sleep apnea — a sleep disorder in which the oxygen level intermittently drops during the night.
- Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, heart defects, heart infection or abnormal heart rhythm.
Other factors associated with a higher risk of stroke include:
- Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or transient ischemic attack.
- Being age 55 or older.
- Race — Blacks have a higher risk of stroke than do 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, they may have some risk from some birth control pills or hormone therapies that include estrogen, as well as from pregnancy and childbirth.
How To Prevent Stroke
- Control high blood pressure
- Do moderate exercise 5 times a week
- Eat a healthy balanced diet
- Reduce your cholesterol intake
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stop smoking and avoid second-hand exposure
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Control your blood sugar if diabetic.