He experienced a sudden gush of numbness on the left side of his body. Thinking it was nothing, he continued working. A while later he woke up on an ER bed unable to move half of his body…
Stroke or “brain attack” happens when there is poor blood flow to the brain which could later result in cell death. Being the main control centre, cell death in the brain causes loss of function, such as paralysis or even cessation of breathing.
“If I am silent it’s because there is a thunder inside me.”
According to the March 21 Issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, these are the subtle signs people often ignore:
- Weakness in the face
- Loss of balance
- Slurred speech
On the patient’s perspective, dizziness or headache can be so mundane; it may not be as alarming. They wait for it to disappear, thinking it was nothing. They will only seek medical help when the symptoms progress to loss of consciousness or general loss of motor movement. Little did they know that had they’ve been able to recognize these subtle signs, they could have prevented permanent damage to the brain or worse, death.
What to Do?
Easy, go to the hospital!
Do not go to an “Albularyo” (village shaman) so he could smoke you with some herbs and cast evil spirits to go away. Also, keep in mind that your neighbours are not doctors. Be dubious when someone suggests that slathering turmeric all over your body will heal you (based on true events)!
Time is essential; an hour late can lead to death or major physical disabilities. Early detection and response is a key player in managing stroke patients. Also, make sure that the hospital you’ll be heading to is well equipped, efficient, and has a good track record. The time you can save from coordinating transfers can prevent a head surgery or paralysis.
How Do You Know You Are Not Exaggerating
It is easy, to just go to the hospital. The common misconception is, it will fade if you let it pass. Just munch some pain killers and you’re good to go. This is so wrong! To some, dizziness is not a justifiable reason to call the ambulance given the ruckus it would cause in the neighbourhood.
These are the people who have high risks to develop stroke.
Persistent elevation of blood pressure can cause weakened blood vessels in the brain to bleed. Bleeding causes brain cells to die, and the affected part of the brain stops working. According to National Heart and Health Institute, you have hypertension if your blood pressure is greater than 140/90mmHg over time.
When someone is diagnosed with Diabetes, he is likely to develop stroke 1.5 times higher than those who do not have Diabetes. High sugar levels in the bloodstream for long periods of time damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to complications. One of which is stroke, and a web of other diseases that can involve the heart, kidneys.
A stick of cigarette can relax you but through the years it can take its toll. Smokers have high risks of forming blood clots, clots that can potentially block small blood vessels in the brain leading to stroke. Over time, smoking can damage blood vessels and raise blood pressure. It can also lower the amount of oxygen delivered to tissues.
The Lover of Fatty Food
Love that juicy burger and fries? Both contain high levels of unsaturated fat or the “bad fat”. Bad fat deposits themselves in blood vessels causing occlusion. Like a clot, it can block blood supply to the brain leading to poor oxygenation of affected areas, no oxygen: no life.
The Drug Users
If you are bothered by the massive turnouts of people taking illegal drugs on the news, the healthcare industry has a firsthand experience of this new found discovery. Usually, stroke patients belong to the 55 years old and above age range, but recently more and more patients in their mid-20s to 30s are being diagnosed with stroke. The common denominator-drug addiction.
According to the AHA journal published in June 2012, 1 out 5 young adults or 25% of stroke patients are drug addicts. These stimulants can cause stroke in two ways: first, it increases blood pressure and that it has a direct effect on our blood vessels. The higher the pressure on fragile blood vessels it is more likely to rupture which leads to blood leak.
Realize, Revamp, Restart,
If you say yes, to the list above, then start changing your lifestyle now before it’s too late! Eating healthy, regular exercise, managing stress, and quitting smoking are some of the few interventions you can do to lower your risks. Visiting your doctor on a regular basis can also make a great difference, especially when you want to ensure that your blood pressure is in control and in maintaining optimal sugar levels.
But if it’s already too late, then worry not; we’re here to guide you!