Stroke Symptoms and Prevention

If you don't know what a stroke is- you are not alone. Most people don’t know much about stroke. However, there is a strong chance that you will have a friend, family member or acquaintance who has experienced a stroke. So, you might want to understand a little bit about what your friend is going through and what a stroke is.

Stroke Facts.

What happens?

A stroke causes any combination of the following problems

Vision loss

Blurred vision

Slurred speech

A lopsided face

An eyelid that won't open or won't close

Weakness of one arm or leg

Numbers or tingling

Severe headaches

Severe dizziness

Off balance

Confusion

Passing out

Why do those symptoms happen?

Those are a lot of symptoms! The reason a stroke can cause so many different symptoms is that a stroke is a brain disease. The brain controls so many of our body's functions. Since a stroke can affect any part of the brain, it can cause a problem in any of the jobs that the brain normally does.

A stroke is brain damage in a region of the brain. The brain damage occurs when blood supply is disturbed by a blood clot or by bleeding in the brain.

Who gets it?

A stroke usually affects people over age 65. But it can occur at younger ages too. Stroke can affect young adults, pregnant women, teens, children and even babies.

What is life like after a stroke?

It depends. There are big strokes and small strokes.

A stroke is very different depending on which part of the brain is affected. So, a stroke survivor might experience just a small problem after a stroke or might have to live with huge challenges in daily functioning, depending on how large the stroke was and which part of the brain it affected.

There are a variety of handicaps after a stroke- including vision loss, swallowing problems, loss of bladder control, trouble driving, seizures and headaches.

Is there any way to fix a stroke?

There is currently no medication available that can fix brain damage from a stroke.

Because of that fact, a stroke is an emergency.  While there is no magical ‘fix it’ for a stroke, there are many ways that doctors and your whole health care team can work together to minimize brain damage from a stroke, while the stroke is still happening. But the treatments are most effective if they are used within a short time after a stroke begins. So it is important to get medical attention right away. Learn how to recognize stroke symptoms so that you can call for emergency help if you or someone you know ever has a stroke.

Future directions

There is a lot of research using computer therapy, stem cell therapy and new medications for stroke. Some stroke survivors who don't want to wait for new medicines to be approved choose to sign up for experimental treatment.

Unfortunately, there are also some weird and wacky ideas out there that do not work for stroke. Make sure to do your homework or ask a reliable source before you use any new or unusual therapy

For now, rehabilitation and physical therapy are some of the best ways to maximize recovery after a stroke.

Prevention

Prevention has been very effective in recent years, now that we understand what causes a stroke. There are many ways you can prevent stroke. Healthy eating, moderate exercise and taking good care of your brain by preventing injury are all great ways to prevent stroke.

How Can you Help?

If you know someone who has had a stroke, there are ways you can help make his or her life a little easier. Learn more here. Also, if you want to know what you should or shouldn't say to a stroke survivor- you can find out here.

Sources:

Ropper, Allan, Samuels, Martin, Klein, Joshua, Principles of Neurology, 10th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2014

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