Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Stroke is a medical emergency and is the leading cause of mortality and disability, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, the brain cells begin to die. Strokes can strike people of any age, including children, but adults over 65 years of age are most at risk.
But, stroke can be treated and prevented. Therefore prompt treatment is crucial as it can minimise brain damage and potential complications.
The main factor that increases your risk of a stroke is high blood pressure. Other risk factors include smoking, binge drinking, obesity, high blood cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and family history.
Signs and symptoms of stroke can affect different parts of the body. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but usually appear suddenly without warning.
If you think you or someone else may be having a stroke watch out for these signs and symptoms:
- Numbness/inability to move or feel on one side of the body
- Unable to speak or hard to understand
- Face drooping – one side of the face may appear to droop (in this case, the person may not be able to smile)
- Headache and vomiting
- Trouble with seeing, in one or both eyes
- Problems with walking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Clumsiness – this can result from lack of balance, weakness, sensation problems or a combination of any of these.
- Problems with balance and co-ordination
Recognising the signs and symptoms of a stroke can help you save your own life or someone else's. If you notice any signs and symptoms of a stroke, seek immediate medical attention even if they seem to fluctuate or disappear.