Facts! You must know about Stroke

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There are many myths and facts surrounding the very cause of a stroke. You must be wondering what is a stroke?. Well, a body stroke is the result of a cut-in blood flow to the brain. Without oxygen in blood, your brain cells begin to collapse in minutes thus causing a stroke.

Body strokes were first recognised over 2,400 years ago by Hippocrates, the father of medicine. It was initially called apoplexy, meaning “struck down by violence”. Earlier, doctors had very less knowledge on this disease.

However  around the mid-1600s, a Swiss physician called Jacob Wepfer studied patients suffering from apoplexy and found that most of them  suffered from a massive blockage of blood in the brain. He discovered that a blockage in the brain’s blood vessels causes this reaction on the human body.

Since then, medical science has progressed in its studies of the human brain, thus giving more insight into the causes, symptoms, and treatment. With the advancement in medical technology, there seems to be a never ending reserve of myths surrounding many diseases of the human body.

Myths and Facts Surrounding Strokes:

There are many people who would say a stroke occurs only for the elderly and that younger people are not prone to it. It may sound convincing, but it’s always worth the try to put a little bit of research and figure out if it was really true. The purpose of life itself is a myth, and therefore myths do exist in all aspects pertaining to life.

Here’s what you need to know about the myths in strokes and the facts surrounding it:

1. A Stroke Can Only Happen To Older People:

Myth: This is an age-old saying. These are assumptions made by traditional medicine practitioners (Not Doctors) to confront people about the very cause of a stroke. Since the dawn of scientific medical approach to healthcare, these myths have faded, but are still heard and told by few.

Fact: Strokes can happen to younger people too, including infants. Most strokes are likely to happen to people younger than 65. Most youngsters ignore the symptoms of a stroke thinking that it can’t happen at their age. Well, you need to know that it can happen to anyone irrespective of  their age.

2. A Stroke Is Difficult To Recognise:

Myth: Initially, people assumed that a stroke is a sudden paralysis that cannot be predicted. However, this notion has changed with many people questioning the cause of anything and everything.

Fact: A stroke can be recognised in terms of his/her Face, Arms, Speech, and Time (FAST). Anyone who experiences numbness in his/her arms, legs, face, including garbled speech, they must be rushed to an emergency facility nearby.

3. Women Do Not Get Strokes:

Fact: This myth has existed since time immemorial. Most people assumed men were prone to heart diseases and women would suffer from thyroid.

Fact: Women do get strokes, but the symptoms are slightly different to that of men.

Symptoms of Strokes In Women:

  • Body numbness (One-sided body numbness)
  • Chest Pain
  • Headache
  • Hiccups
  • Dizziness

4. Consuming Aspirin When Having A Stroke:

Fact: Aspirin is considered as the wonder drug that limits the risks involved in heart diseases. “In case you have high blood pressure, do not drop into a conclusion of consuming aspirin”, says Dr. Christopher Cannon, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Fact: It is not advised to take aspirin during a stroke because all strokes may not be the caused by blood clots. Although most strokes are caused due to blood clots, there are few strokes that are caused due to ruptured blood vessels that stop the production of oxygen to the brain.Therefore, consuming aspirin during a stroke may relapse on the patient, thus making the bleeding strokes more severe. If in case advised to take aspirin, make sure that it has been prescribed by the emergency doctor.

5. A Stroke Cannot Be Prevented:

Fact: Most people remain/feel helpless when looking at a loved one suffering from a sudden stroke. This helpless feeling has made most feel that it cannot be prevented as it cannot be predicted. However, you need to know that this is a wrong notion because every disease has symptoms and can be prevented. It goes with a popular saying, ‘Prevention is better than Cure’.

Fact: Once you’ve encountered a stroke, there are high risks of having another. Thus the best treatment is to prevent it.

How To Prevent A Stroke?

Minimize the risks of having a stroke by doing this:

  • Eat More vegetables, beans, and nuts
  • Consume fewer fats, sugars, sodium, and refined grains
  • Exercise regularly
  • Prioritize eating more of seafood instead of beef and poultry
  • Limit/Quit the use of tobacco

6. A Stroke Does Not Have Warning Signs:

Fact: Initially, people believed that strokes occur  suddenly. But if you are assuming something like that, then you need to understand that a stroke is a condition that happens suddenly. A stroke is sudden and does not warn you.

Infographic on Myths & Facts of Stroke:

Myths And Facts About Strokes

Types of Strokes

There are 3 different types of strokes namely:

1. Ischemic Stroke:

In an Ischemic type of stroke, blood vessels get blocked causing a blood clot, thus stopping the flow of oxygen to the brain. This type of stroke accounts to 80% of all strokes. Immediate medical attention to this type of stroke is essential and will limit the risk of death.

2. Hemorrhagic Stroke:

This type of stroke happens when blood vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain burst. The outcome of such a catastrophic thing: is that a portion of the brain does not receive oxygen and stops functioning.

Symptoms Of Hemorrhagic Stroke

  • Sudden severe headache with an unknown cause
  • Partial or total loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting/severe nausea
  • Numbness/weakness of the Face, Arms/legs (One Sided part of the body)

3. Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA):

This type of an attack is often called a mini stroke. A mini stroke does not cause permanent disabilities, but seeking immediate medical assistance is required. It’s symptoms are similar to that of the above two major strokes.

Here, a blood clot that’s blocking the flow of blood to the brain bursts on its own. It doesn’t cause brain damage, but it is a warning sign for a future stroke. This type of stroke must not be ignored and it is advised to take proper/suggested/proposed medical care in order to prevent a future major stroke.

Symptoms of Mini Strokes:

  • Language disorder (Dysphasia)
  • Physical difficulty in speaking (Dysarthria)
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal sense of taste and smell
  • Blurry vision
  • Fainting
  • Severe headache
  • Numbness in body (One Sided depending on which side of the brain is damaged)

Post-Stroke Medical Treatment:

After an emergency treatment for a stroke, patients would be given stroke therapy that will help them return back to their regular lives.

If the right side of your brain was affected by a stroke, your movement and sensation on the left side of your body will be affected. The same goes for the one on the left side. Brain damage on the left side of your brain causes speech and language disorders. One of the major after effect stroke is that the patient will encounter problems relating to breathing, swallowing, and blurry sight.

After getting discharged, a patient suffering from the after effects of a stroke will have to continue the treatment program in the same hospital, or nursing facility.

The treatment depends on the degree of your stroke. The concerned doctor will suggest the right type of treatment based on the degree of the stroke, age, and overall health.

People Involved In Treating Patients Who’ve Had A Stroke

  • Neurologist
  • Nurse
  • Dietitian
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Recreational therapist
  • Speech pathologist
  • Social worker
  • Case manager
  • Psychologist or psychiatrist

What To Do If You Encounter Anyone With A Stroke?

The moment you spot a person suffering from a stroke, firstly dial 108 for emergency medical services. Before the patient falls unconscious, you need to follow these simple steps and ensure you give a little bit of  first aid to the patient.

  • Firstly call emergency services
  • Make sure the patient is lying down on the ground , preferably lying one side with their head slightly raised and supported in case they vomit.
  • Constantly check if the patient is breathing. In case the person is wearing tight clothing, make sure you loosen it/ remove it. (Tie, scarf etc.)
  • Cover them with a blanket to keep them warm
  • Do not give them anything to eat or drink
  • Make sure to tell the symptoms to the emergency room doctors once they arrive
  • Avoid if the person suffering is showing you any weakness in his/her limb, face, arms etc. Make sure you inform the doctor once, he/she arrives at your doorstep or when the patient is admitted.
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1 COMMENT

  1. Hello Doctor, I have quite smoking 5 months back but I feel terrible pain on my chest. Can you tell me what can I do ? will it affect my future life ?

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