In the past, most patients with stroke were elderly but unhealthy lifestyles among young people is contributing to the increasing number of stroke victims.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is insufficient or blocked. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. The effects of a stroke depend primarily on which part of the brain is affected and how severe is the effect. The most common symptoms are numbness or weakness of arms, legs, and half face; difficulty in speaking, blur vision and abnormal loss of balance.
Unhealthy eating habits, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and smoking – common in both young and elderly patients – are controllable.
However, other factors such as age, valvular heart disease, atrial fibrillation, vasculitis and other age-related dysfunctions are uncontrollable.
When someone has shown symptoms of a stroke, a doctor will gather information, make a diagnosis, and will do a neurological examination; have blood tests done; and get an MRI scan or an ultrasound test using high-frequency sound waves to measure blood flow in the carotid arteries.
Intravenous thrombolytic agents (rtPA) are used for the immediate treatment of a stroke. The treatment within the first 4.5 hours following the occurrence of symptoms may prevent brain damage. If you are at a risk and suspected for acute stroke, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The best ways to prevent the risks of having a stroke are to hinder the development of atherosclerotic risks and develop healthy habits such as diet control, weight control and smoking cessation.