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Spot a Stroke

BY Relay EMS

What is a stroke?
A stroke also known as CVA – Cerebral Vascular Accident – occurs in the brain when a blood vessel is blocked either by a clot or ruptures. When this occurs the brain cannot receive sufficient blood and oxygen for adequate perfusion causing brain cells to become ischemic and die.


Strokes are not something that just happens to older people. How do you recognise the signs of a stroke?

 

Types of strokes

  • TIA – Trans-ischemic Attack is often a “warning stroke”. TIA is caused by a clot; the only difference between a stroke and TIA is that with TIA the blockage is transient (temporary). TIA symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less than five minutes; the average is about a minute. Unlike a stroke, when a TIA is over, it usually causes no permanent injury to the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 13 percent of stroke cases, and results from a weakened vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain tissue causing ischemia and death to brain tissue. If severe haemorrhage occurs the patient can die in minutes. It’s usually characterized by a sudden headache.
  • Ischemic stroke accounts for about 87 percent of all cases. Ischemic strokes occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. The underlying condition for this type of obstruction is the development of fatty deposits lining the vessel walls.


Symptoms? Think F.A.S.T.

  • F – Facial droop. Does the one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven?
  • A – Arm drift. Is one arm weak of numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downwards?
  • S – Speech slurred. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T – Time to call. If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call RELAY EMS (0861 061 061) to get the person to a hospital without delay.


Controllable risk factors?

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • TIAs
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity and obesity
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Illegal drug use

All these are risk factors can be controlled by consulting your doctor and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


Risk factors you can’t change

  • Family history (hereditary)
  • Age
  • Gender (men seem more at risk)
  • Previous stroke or heart attack

Food for thought:
The foods you eat can help by lowering the risk of a stroke and improve your overall health. Research shows a brain-healthy diet is rich in:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fish (salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, herring or trout, which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids)
  • Whole-grain, high-fiber foods
  • Dairy: Fat-free and low-fat (1%) products
  • Beans
  • Lean meats like skinless poultry

DISCLAIMER: NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL HEALTH CARE OR ADVICE
ANY ADVICE AND INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS PAGE IS PROVIDED “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” WITH NO WARRANTIES WHATSOEVER. YOUR USE OF THE PAGE IS VOLUNTARY AND AT YOUR SOLE RISK. THE HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION AVAILABLE THROUGH THE PAGE IS GENERAL IN NATURE AND IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL HEALTHCARE. IT IS PROVIDED FOR GENERALISED INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY NOT CATERING FOR SPECIFIC CONDITIONS AND IS NOT INTENDED, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED, TO REPLACE THE ADVICE OR TREATMENT OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS. YOU ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR RELIANCE ON THE PAGE AND THE HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION AVAILABLE THROUGH THE PAGE, AND FOR ALL DECISIONS OR ACTIONS RESULTING FROM YOUR USE OF THE PAGE AND ITS CONTENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY DECISION NOT TO SEEK OR REFRAIN FROM SEEKING ANY DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT. YOU ARE ALSO SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR DECISION TO USE THE SERVICES OF ANY PARTICULAR THIRD-PARTY PROVIDER. IF YOU HAVE SPECIFIC HEALTHCARE NEEDS, OR FOR COMPLETE HEALTH INFORMATION, PLEASE SEE A DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTHCARE PROVIDER

 April 25, 2017
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