At the end of October, World Stroke Day was marked, a disease that affects 15 million people globally. Of that number, five million people die, and another five million remain permanently disabled, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
What do you need to know about this disease and how can it be prevented?
What is a stroke?
A stroke, also called a stroke, occurs when there is a blockage of blood flow to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.
In both cases, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause permanent brain damage, long-term disability or even death.
Types of stroke
Ischemic stroke Most strokes are ischemic strokes. Ischemic stroke occurs when blood clots block blood vessels to the brain.
Fatty deposits called plaque can also cause blockages by building up in blood vessels. Hemorrhagic stroke In a hemorrhagic stroke, blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue. The two types of hemorrhagic strokes are intracerebral hemorrhage (inside the brain) or subarachnoid hemorrhage.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel bursts. Stroke symptoms Signs of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body, followed by sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes are also possible, as well as sudden problems with walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination.
Symptoms of a minor stroke
They include one or a combination of the following symptoms: sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body, sudden trouble speaking or understanding, confusion, sudden vision problems in one or both eyes, dizziness, loss of balance or sudden trouble walking.
Symptoms of a severe stroke
The most severe strokes can leave a person unresponsive, sometimes in a sleep-like state. This is sometimes called unconsciousness or coma, and it means that important parts of the brain are not working well.
A coma is a worrying sign because it can mean that the stroke is severe enough that the person may not survive.
Little few warning signs that many people don't notice
A stroke that is accompanied by lesser-known or less obvious symptoms can sometimes be far more damaging to the brain and body as a whole.
Those who do not know they have had a stroke may function longer without control. Unlike, say, a heart attack, which is accompanied by mostly obvious symptoms, discomfort or pain, a so-called silent stroke can have hidden signs that are easily overlooked.
These are sudden lack of balance, temporary loss of basic muscle movements (including the bladder), slight memory loss, sudden changes in mood or personality, problems with cognitive skills and ability. If you notice any of these silent symptoms, you should call an ambulance immediately.
Even if an individual claims that symptoms are no longer apparent, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible in case delayed complications occur after a stroke.
What causes a stroke?
There are two main causes of stroke: a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or a leaking or burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).
Some people may only have a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain, known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which causes no permanent symptoms.
Symptoms in men and women
During a stroke, both men and women usually report the same signs that come on suddenly: numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body, confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, trouble seeing in one or both eyes , difficulty walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination, severe headache with no known cause.