Stroke happens when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off causing oxygen deprivation and death of those brain cells. As a result, the abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost. It not treated on time; it can cause long term complications like paralysis, loss of bowel and bladder control, pain in hands and feet.
-In India around 16.6 lac cases occur every year (10% of the worldwide incidence).
-That is around 4500 strokes/day.
Who Is At Risk Of Stroke?
-Up to 50 % strokes are preventable by managing risk factors: High blood pressure, heart diseases, uncontrolled diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, obesity.
-Other risk factors include Age (>65), Gender (Men have more strokes, women have deadlier strokes), Family history.
What Are The Symptoms?
Symptoms include confusion, trouble speaking and understanding, headache, altered consciousness/ vomiting, numbness of the face, arm or leg, particularly on one side of the body, trouble seeing, and walking.
How Can You Suspect If Someone Is Having A Stroke?
Stroke should be treated within treated 3 hours of the symptoms first appearing.
If you think someone may be having a stroke use the F.A.S.T test.
Face – Check their face. Has their face fallen on one side?
Arms – Can they raise both arms and keep them there?
Speech – Is their speech slurred?
Time is critical. If you notice any of these signs, call the nearby hospital immediately.
How Can Stroke Be Prevented?
Stroke can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle changes. Here are ways by which you can prevent stroke:
1 . Quit Smoking
-Smoking has been found to accelerate clot formation and therefore thickens the blood.
-It increases plaque deposition and increases the risk for stroke.
2 . Limit Alcohol Intake.
-Drink in moderation and on special occasions.
-If you cannot get rid of the habit, consider seeking medical advice.
3 . Stay Active
-Consistent moderate intensity 30 minute exercise at least 5 times a week helps strengthen your heart and burns the fat.
-If you can’t fit in 30 continuous minutes of exercise, you can split it up into three 10-minute walks throughout the day.
-Be more active throughout the day.
-Opt for stairs as often as you can.
Take a 5 minute break after every hour you spend sitting and go for a short walk or do simple stretches.
4 . Eat Right
-Opt for a low fat and high fiber diet rich in whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
-Include a handful of heart healthy nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds.
Have healthy fats.Oils that are good for you include olive oil, canola oil, vegetable and nut oils.
-Have 5 portions of vegetables and fruits ( one portion equals one handful).
Stay away from refined, processed and deep fried foods.
5 . Keep Your Weight In Check
-Obesity and overweight has been found to be a major risk for lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and stroke.
-Maintain a healthy weight for your height and age.
6 . Keep Your Blood Pressure In Check.
-High blood pressure has been found to increase the risk of stroke by close to four times.
-Restrict salt intake to less than 6 gm/day to lower risk of blood pressure and heart diseases.
-Stay away from fatty foods and keep your cholesterol in check.
-If you are on blood pressure medications, make sure you have them on time and never stop or change them without your doctor’s approval.
So, this World Stroke day, take a pledge to make healthy lifestyle changes to prevent stroke and live a life that is healthier, happier and free from diseases. Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!