Emergency! Attention! It’s a Stroke (Brain attack)
A stroke means that the blood supply to a part of the brain is suddenly cut off. The brain cells need a constant supply of oxygen from the blood. Soon after the blood supply is cut off, the cells in the affected area of brain become damaged or die. A stroke is sometimes called a brain attack or paralytic attack.
The majority of strokes occur when blood vessels to the brain become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits called plaque or clots. This cuts off blood flow to brain cells. In small number of cases it can occur because of rupture of artery
There has been more than 100% increase in the stroke incidence in low and middle income countries and 42% decrease in high income countries over past 40years. Every 6 seconds stroke kills someone. One in 4 people worldwide will have stroke. Burden of stroke is on an increasing trend worldwide especially in young age group. Over two third of deaths due to stroke occur in developing countries. India is facing double burden of communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases like heart attack, brain attack or stroke and diabetes.
Stroke is a medical emergency and needs immediate medical attention. The symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache with no known cause.
These symptoms are easy to remember using acronym FAST – F-facial droop, A– arm weakness, S– speech disturbance and T– time of onset of symptom. By learning the F.A.S.T. warning signs, you just might save a life from stroke.
Rapid recognition of stroke symptoms is a crucial factor in the acute treatment of stroke. There is a clot-dissolving drug called IV Alteplase (tPA) to treat stroke, which must be give within 3 to 4.5 hours after symptoms start. It can stop a stroke in progress and reduce disability from stroke by breaking up a blood clot that might be stopping the flow of blood to the brain. For people with blood clots in larger arteries, Alteplase may not dissolve them completely. In this case, procedure called mechanical thrombectomy can be done within 6 to 24 hour. But sooner is better as every minute 1.9million brain cells die out. Brain cells once die do not regenerate
Risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease (coronary artery disease) , irregular heart beat(atrial fibrillation), high cholesterol especially apolipoprotein, waist hip ratio , smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity environmental pollution.
Reduce your risk of stroke. Keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes under control. Avoid junk food, eat more fruits and veggies, and take regular exercise.