As per recent research conducted by the AIIMS neuro expert, it is found that around 1,85,000 stroke cases are reported every year in India.
In India, many people face strokes. The percentage of people dying from strokes in India is very high.
Strokes can be emotionally and mentally harsh on the patients suffering and their families. Their impact on the lives of the victims and their loved ones can be overwhelming and life-altering. The sudden loss of independent functioning is a major source of stress for a person who suffers from a stroke in the brain. It even causes frustration and sadness, leading to depression and increased anxiety levels.
What are the major causes of strokes? What are some signs and symptoms? How can we protect ourselves? Read ahead to find out!
What is a stroke?
A stroke in the brain is also known as Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA). It is a kind of medical emergency that arises when the blood supply to a part of your brain is either completely disrupted or reduced. This interruption in blood supply may occur due to two reasons. First, it can either be caused due to a blockage in the blood vessels supplying the brain. Secondly, it may occur due to the rupture of a blood vessel within the brain. Interrupted blood flow leads to an insufficiency of oxygen and nutrients in the affected brain cells.
What are the Causes of Strokes?
There are ample stroke causes due to which they may occur. Mainly the causes of strokes are classified into two main categories. Let’s discuss them in detail below:
Modifiable Risk Factors
High Blood Pressure or Hypertension
Well, hypertension is known as the most common risk factor which can cause strokes. It damages the blood vessels over time which can lead to blockages.
Smoking is injurious to health. Cigarettes contain chemicals that are unsafe for our bodies and can increase the risk of the formation of blood clots in the body.
Being overweight can also contribute to developing risk factors like high blood pressure. This increases the chances of stroke.
When there’s an increase in the deposition of bad cholesterol in the blood vessels, it can lead to blockages.
If one has uncontrolled diabetes, it can double the chances of strokes.
Non-Modifiable Risk Factors
Age cannot be modified; hence, the chances of strokes increase. It is reported that the cases of strokes are higher in older adults than younger ones.
It is noted that men have a higher chance of stroke in the brain than women. However, women have unique risk factors like pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, and various birth control methods.
Genetic reasons or family history may put you at a higher risk of a stroke.
What are Some Signs and Symptoms?
Recognizing the stroke symptoms is essential so that correct medication and immediate medical intervention can be provided. Prompt treatment would increase the chances of minimizing brain damage.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of strokes are:
Sudden Weakness or Numbness
One of the most common signs. One side of the face, leg, or even arm suddenly becomes weak or numb, which can lead to a loss in the ability to walk, talk or perform any chore.
Difficulty in Speaking or Understanding Speech
People who are suffering from strokes or are soon about to would experience difficulty in speaking or understanding speech.
Strokes can create confusion in a person’s mind, which can even lead them to difficulties in comprehending simple tasks. The person might look dazed or have trouble understanding people in their surroundings.
If you experience a sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in either one or both of the eyes, that’s your cue to see a doctor.
Another severe sign of stroke is an unbearable headache. It can serve as a warning sign of stroke and hence may be accompanied by dizziness, vomiting, and altered consciousness.
Are Strokes Avoidable?
There are some factors, such as age and genetic factors, among others, which cannot be modified. However, some ways may help you reduce the risks:
Adopt a Healthy Diet
Adopt a well-balanced and healthy diet. Keep your diet full of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats.
Daily workout sessions are beneficial. You can aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise weekly. Regular exercise would help maintain body weight and improve overall cardiovascular health.
Say no to smoking. It can damage the blood vessels and enhances the chances of strokes. Excessive alcohol and smoke consumption must be avoided.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight can lead to an increased risk of stroke.
What Happens After A Stroke?
After experiencing a stroke, individuals enter the recovery and rehabilitation stage. At first, the patient is given acute medical care. The treatment stabilizes their condition and helps in preventing any further damage. Once the patient becomes stable, the focus shifts toward rehabilitation. Rehabilitation exercises include speech therapy, regaining lost abilities, etc.
Additionally, a stroke patient needs emotional and physical support through counseling sessions.
Here are some aspects of the aftermath:
A patient would experience physical effects depending upon the severity and location of the brain damage caused by strokes. These effects may include weakness or paralysis on one side of the body.
Some people may experience difficulty in memory retention, attention, problem-solving, decision-making, etc.
People who suffer from strokes experience an adamant time in their and their family’s life. It’s essential to approach stroke survivors with compassion and empathy and extend moral and emotional support toward them. Additionally, stroke prevention is a shared responsibility, and by managing the risk factors like diabetes, obesity, and weight, we can reduce the chances of encountering it.
Stroke symptoms include sudden numbness, difficulty in speaking, blurred vision, unbearable headache, and more. Read more to be able to recognize strokes better.
The Author : Dr. Sunil Khattri
Dr. Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.