One afternoon, Manish was helping his wife clean their house and while lifting some boxes, he felt weakness in his right hand and leg. He sat on a chair and rested while assuming that the pain was due to the heavy boxes he carried. A week later, he had another feeling of weakness when he was out shopping and ended up in hospital. It was a stroke and without his knowledge, he was suffering from high blood pressure.
A sudden interruption of the blood flow to the brain causes a brain injury which is known as stroke. It is a common but a serious condition that can make a person disabled for life or brings about death. But it is not inevitable and can be prevented. Stroke is the leading cause of leading disability in the world. World Stroke Day is observed on 29thOctober every year to raise awareness on stroke and ways to prevent it.
Know your risk factors
Nearly 80% of the strokes can be prevented.
High blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, being overweight, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, alcohol, heart diseases and, stress are the risk factors which can be controlled to reduce the risk of stroke significantly.
Common symptoms to look out for
Symptoms of stroke appear suddenly and often there is more than one symptom at the same time. Knowing the signs of a stroke and seeking immediate medical help:
- Unexpected weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg on one side of the body
- Sharp or atypical headache
- Loss of speech, or struggle to speak or understand expressions
- Loss of balance/coordination or trouble with walking
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Unfamiliar dizziness
- Difficulty swallowing
Reduce the risk of stroke
- Regularly screen your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels and maintain the normal range
- Avoid direct or indirect smoke
- Limit alcohol intake
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables and low salt, fat and oil
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Know about stroke and seek medical attention whenever necessary
- World stroke organization. Accessed Oct 28, 2015.
- American stroke association. Accessed Oct 28, 2015.