Strokes are the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Strokes are when blood flow to any part of the brain is interrupted. Sometimes a stroke is explained as “brain attack”, comparing it to a heart attack. For the best of recovering from a stroke, the victim needs to get to treatment as soon as possible – recent medical advancements have allowed many stroke victims who received quick treatment to retain significant ability.
In order to get a stroke victim to treatment you first have to be able to identify a stroke. Because strokes are brain injuries often the victim does not realize that they are experiencing a stroke but here are some symptoms of stroke to watch out for.
Symptoms of Stroke
- Sudden Weakness/Numbness: The victim suddenly feels numb or weak, especially if only on one side of the body.
- Sudden Confusion: The victim’s speech suddenly becomes slurred or they abruptly lose the ability to use the correct words in a sentence.
- Sudden Mobility Issues: The victim suddenly has trouble walking, especially if they experience sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden Headache: The victim abruptly experiences a severe headache with no apparent cause; especially when followed by vomiting, dizziness, or unconsciousness.
- Sudden Vision Issues: The victim abruptly has difficultly seeing in one or both eyes.
There are many risk factors for Stroke. There is little that we can do about some of them, like old age and diabetes, but others, like high blood pressure and cigarette smoking, can be reduced through lifestyle.
Lifestyle Choices That Help to Prevent Stroke
- Lower Blood Pressure: Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is the leading preventable risk factor for Strokes. Lowering blood pressure will reduce risk of stroke more than any other lifestyle change.
- Smoking: Regular smoking increases the risk of Stroke by roughly 250%.
- Stress: Individuals are at greater risk of Stroke during prolonged periods of high stress. Stress can be lowered by getting help and finding coping mechanisms like playing games, regular exercise, or a relaxing hobby.
- Alcohol: Studies have found that heavy drinking drastically increases the risk of Stroke. Avoid drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day, never drink more than five.
Stroke can be one of the most devastating health disasters to befall a person. Without warning a Stroke can transform a person. That was what happened to my Grandfather. It is important to remember that the victim of a Stroke is still your loved one but that they have been seriously injured, often not only physically but mentally.