Knowledge of risk factors for stroke and taking appropriate measures to counter act these can play an important role in both primary and secondary prevention of stroke.
A stroke occurs when areas of the brain are damaged as a result of a disruption in blood supply to the brain.
Blood supply can be disrupted in two ways:
Blockage (thrombosis/embolism): a blood clot, or atherosclerotic plaque (fatty build up) blocks the arteries to the brain cutting off blood supply.
Bleed (hemorrhage): the blood vessel bursts causing bleeding into the brain tissue.
Each of the following risk factors can increase your chance of a stroke:
Medical Risk Factors:
- Diabetes Mellitus (diabetes)
- High blood Cholesterol
- Current Heart Disease
- Human Immune deficiency Virus (HIV)
- Being overweight
- Physical inactivity
- Poor diet
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
- Drug abuse
Act F.A.S.T. - Can you Identify a Stroke?
Courtesy of St. David's HealthCare.
If you suspect someone is having a stroke get them to hospital as soon as possible, and preferably to a hospital with a stroke unit, because in certain cases, strokes can be reversed if the blood flow to the brain is restored before the brain tissue dies. It may be possible to reduce /remove a clot by means of medical or surgical procedures.
In South Africa, contact your nearest hospital in case of emergency or dial 112 from a cellphone.
A stroke can result in one or more of the following impairments:
Paralysis or weakness of limbs
Language problems (Receptive and Expressive Aphasia)
Speech disorders (Dysarthria and Apraxia)
Cognitive and perceptual impairments
Where can I get more information about stroke and treatment options:
Clinics /Community Health Centres in your area
The Helderberg Stroke Support Group (A detailed resource list of services available to stroke survivors in the Helderberg Basin (Somerset West /Strand. Western Cape. South Africa) can be obtained from the office.