The brain requires a rich blood supply just like most parts of the body. This makes it very important that it gets its daily cut, steadily and continuously. A stroke is said to occur when the brain is cheated or starved of its blood supply either by a blockage of its supplying blood vessels or if the vessels rupture cutting off blood supply. Without oxygen in blood to the brain, brain cells begin to die in minutes. However, in “medicalese”, it is called cerebrovascular accident. Like most accidents, it is unplanned and can occur at any age. Research reveals that even babies in the womb can have a stroke. In general, chances go up as you get older and doubles every decade after age 55.
Stroke may manifest differently in both genders. Nonetheless, it is a deadly condition. Matter-of-factually, it is number five (5) on the list of most deadly conditions in the USA today. However, if a stroke is caught at the early stage it can be managed. Some signs are clear-pointers (pathogonomic) and they all have a sudden onset.
- Weakness and numbness of the face, arm or leg
- Confusion; trouble speaking or understanding
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or consideration
- Severe headaches with no known cause
If one or more signs present, do Call-A-Physio! Every second counts in preventing complete brain damage that results from stroke. There are two types of stroke, hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke and the above signs do not point to a specific type, the more reason it should be treated as an emergency.
For most developed climes, the prevention-is-better-than-cure protocol is employed which is ultimately the best policy. Yes! Stroke is preventable even if there is a long family history. Again, Call-A-Physio.
How? By maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We underestimate the rewards of exercise, eating right and monitoring our blood pressure. Often times, benefits of exercise are reduced to just weight loss and blood pressure check-ups are for when the doctor calls. This shouldn’t be. Stroke can be kept at bay by:
- Lowering cholesterol
- Keeping excess weight off
- Getting physically active
- Saying no to smoking, even second hand smoking
- Consuming less sodium
- Controlling high blood pressure
The resulting excess weight and high cholesterol blood levels of an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to narrowing of the blood vessels and hence increases blood pressure. In other news, there is increased demand on the heart to force blood through those vessels, as a result, high blood pressure. Nicotine in cigarettes similarly, increase blood pressure and the residues in the smoke can block vessels of the lungs and can become a migratory thrombus (embolus). Emboli easily attach to fat cells lining the blood vessels and block them. If these affected blood vessels are in the brain, stroke occurs. High blood pressure overtime, weakens blood vessels and a usual sequelae is rupture. Excess sodium increases blood pressure. Moderation is key. In conclusion, a healthy lifestyle is a life-long investment and it forestalls a range of health conditions including stroke.