Very few Nigerians know what a stroke is despite the fact that the numbers of Nigerians having this condition is on the increase. A stroke is a very serious, life-threatening condition occurring when blood flow to a part of the brain is cut off or drastically reduced. The resultant effect is that brain cells begin to die within minutes of this happening.
Strokes are not to be taken lightly. Prompt and urgent medical response is key in order to reduce damage to the brain. True, strokes are life-threatening but they can be prevented and also treated.
Signs and symptoms of stroke
- Headache: A serious, unexpected headache can be a strong indicator of having a stroke. Usually this headache is often accompanied by dizziness and vomiting.
- Difficulty in walking: You may experience a loss of coordination or balance, even dizziness.
- Difficulty in seeing: All of a sudden, you might find out that you are seeing double or even having blurred in one or both eyes.
- Numbness of the face or limbs: A sudden weakness, numbness (lack of sensation) or paralysis in your limbs (arms or legs) or face, especially when its one-sided is an indication of a stroke. Medical experts advise that you make an effort to raise both arms over your head at the same time. If one of the arms starts falling, you might be having a stroke. The same should be observed when you smile. If one side of your mouths drops, that’s a strong indicator that you might be having a stroke.
- Difficulty in speaking: A person suffering from a stroke may experience difficulty in speaking. There might be a slur in the words. Also, the individual might have difficulty understanding speech.
Causes of strokes
Generally, a stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is cut off or drastically reduced. This causes damage to the brain, disability and even, death in some cases.
The two main causes of strokes are:
- Haemorrhagic: This is where blood supply to the brain is reduced or cut off because a blood vessel bursts
- Ischemic: This is where blood supply to the brain is reduced or cut off due to a blocked or narrowed artery. The blockage is often as a result of blood clots.
Strokes can be treated. However, treatment varies depending on the type and cause of stroke and the part of the brain that is affected.
In many cases, medicines that are known to remove and prevent blood clots, lower cholesterol levels and also reduce blood pressure.
In cases of haemorrhagic strokes where the brain swells and there is a lot of bleeding, surgery may be required.
The best way to reduce your risk of having a stroke is basically through a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and moderate alcohol consumption will improve your general wellbeing and reduce your chances of having a stroke. Oh yes, before I forget, QUIT SMOKING!
Have you suffered a stroke before or you know someone who has? Do you have more to share on this subject? Please kindly share in the comment section below. You can also ask questions by clicking here.