Stroke

A sudden injury to part of the brain caused when blood flow in an artery stops.This damages the neurons and the functions they control.Neurons that die cannot be replaced or restored.

Five warning signs of stroke

  • Weakness - Sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg, even if temporary.
  • Trouble speaking - Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, even if temporary.
  • Vision problems - Sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary.
  • Headache - Sudden severe and unusual headache.
  • Dizziness - Sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the above signs.

Causes of stroke

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Stress (not managing stress)
  • Age (while strokes can occur at any age, most occur over age 65)
  • Gender (women have a lower risk before menopause than men. But more women than men die of stroke)
  • Family history (if a parent or sibling had a stroke before age 65)
  • Prior stroke or TIA

Common effects of stroke

  • Paralysis or weakness on one side of the body
  • Vision problems
  • Communication problems
  • Fatigue
  • Incontinence (loss of bladder control)
  • Changes in how a person perceives or interprets the world
  • Personality changes
  • Depression or loss of emotional control
  • Ability to remember, solve problems, and communicate with others

Stroke recovery depends on

  • The type and severity of the stroke
  • Age and health
  • Family support
  • Personal outlook
  • Availability of rehab services

How is stroke diagnosed?

  • Physical assessment
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • CT and MRI with angiography
  • Echocardiography