What Exactly Is a Stroke And How Can I Avoid One?

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We’ve all heard of a stroke, and many of us could probably list off a few symptoms. Drooping face on one side, confusion and slurred speech are all common with this condition. But do you know exactly what a stroke is, what causes them and what you can do to prevent them? Here’s some information so you can find out more.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke is a 'brain attack'- it's comparable to a heart attack.  The cause is usually a blockage of a blood vessel to an area of the brain. In a small number of cases it can be due to an area of bleeding in the brain. A stroke should be treated as a medical emergency, and the sooner the patient is seen by a doctor, the greater the likelihood is of recovery.

How Do I Spot If Someone Is Having a Stroke?

If you suspect someone is having a stroke, remember the anagram ‘FAST.' The F stands for face- first ask the person to smile. See if you can see drooping of the mouth on one side. The A stands for arm, ask the person to raise both arms above their head. Does one of them drift downward?) The S is for speech, find out if the person can speak clearly and understand what's being said to them). Finally the T is for time. You should call the emergency services as quickly as possible if they show any of the above symptoms. Stay calm but act quickly. When a person is having a stroke, a bleed on the brain will continue to cause more and more damage until it can be treated by professionals.

What’s The Recovery Like?

The recovery of a stroke depends on a wide range of different factors. Where in the stroke occurred in the brain, how much of the brain was affected and how quickly they were treated are all variables. The patient’s motivation, and the support of the caregiver can all affect recovery. Finally how healthy the survivor was before the stroke makes a huge difference. The weaker, older or more ill the patient, the worse the outcome is likely to be.  The best recovery from a stroke usually occurs during the first few months. However, it's not unknown for some stroke survivors continue to recover years down the line. Physical therapy has been shown to be useful, it can be worth booking into a rehabilitation center especially in the early days of recovery. It’s nicer than a hospital, but you have everything you need available from professional care to support and advice


How Can I Prevent Strokes?

There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of having a stroke. High blood pressure, smoking, illegal drugs, diabetes, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and unhealthy diet are all on the list. Therefore living a healthy lifestyle and carefully managing any pre-existing health issues you have properly is essential. There are some other medical issues which can increase the chance of stroke, they include having previous strokes, heart attacks, poor arterial circulation in the legs or injury to the blood vessels in the neck. If any of these are an issue for you, be sure to speak to your GP for medical advice.


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