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What is a Stroke? Must-Know Signs & Prevention Guide

Stroke is renowned for being the primary source of severe long-term disability in the United States, with strokes occurring every 40 seconds and leading to death every 3.5 minutes. Over 795,000 American citizens experience a stroke, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was stressed, however, that while stroke is the leading factor of death in the U.S., the chance of having one differs by ethnicity and race.

Without a doubt, the population of Singapore is ageing, owing to rising life expectancy. Further, the predominance of chronic illnesses such as heart disease is predicted to be greater amongst the elderly, as stroke has grown to become Singapore's fourth top cause of death, accounting for 6.8% of all fatalities.

With these troubling data, it is critical to be well-versed on the indicators and prevention of this disease, as well as to implement the appropriate care and lifestyle factors to avoid severe consequences.

As not every stroke incident can be avoided, there are several things you can do to minimize the possibilities. But first, understand the origins, indications, and symptoms of a stroke, as well as the preventive measures to implement.

Stroke — What It Is?

Stroke, a cerebrovascular disease, primarily happens when blood flow to your brain is stopped. The brain necessitates continuous and adequate oxygen and nutrients to work well. If the brain fails to have enough oxygen supply, damage may occur as the brain cells tend to die after just a few minutes without blood or oxygen.

Strokes are medical severe emergency conditions that can be fatal—as such, keeping in mind prevention methods and adopting healthier lifestyle habits can be life-saving. 

Stroke and Its Types

There's a considerable possibility of a stroke at any age to strike. Strokes come in various forms, just as they do in terms of the severity. It's critical to notice the indicators as soon as possible to comprehend better and receive treatment before such impairment or mortality arises.

Ischemic Stroke

In Singapore, ischemic stroke accounted for 81.4 percent of all stroke cases in 2019. During an ischemic stroke, an obstruction in the bloodstream interrupts blood supply, preventing blood from flowing to the brain. Emboli or clots in the brain might trigger it. It could also be precipitated by a thrombosis, which occurs when fatty deposits restrict blood vessels, resulting in a blood clot.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

Brain cells cease to function when a blood artery rupture and pours blood into neural tissue. The bleeding, otherwise known as a haemorrhage, is frequently caused by poorly regulated hypertension, damaging the arterial wall with age. An aneurysm, a congenital weakening or bulging of an arterial wall, an arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, a congenital disability in which an artery and vein merge wrongly, can also cause blood to leak.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

It is often known as a ministroke; however, it isn't to be confused with a stroke. TIA patients experience the consequences of a full-blown stroke, but only briefly. Some effects can last as little as five minutes. Although TIA is less severe than ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, it can raise the risk of blood clots later down the line as it suggests that a brain artery is partially constricted or obstructed.

One of the primary triggers of a disruption of blood supply to the brain is thrombosis, a clot that originates sporadically in a blood vessel inside the brain. It can also be caused by a clot that develops anywhere in the body, dislodges, and continues to settle in a cerebral artery. Potential causes of a TIA include arterial spasms and, in extreme instances, bleeding into brain tissue.

 

What are the stroke risk factors?

There are uncontrollable and controllable risk factors for stroke. One crucial step in stroke prevention is recognizing the following factors that can lead to strokes:

 

CONTROLLABLE STROKE RISK FACTORS

UNCONTROLLABLE STROKE RISK FACTORS

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Family history

Diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar)

Race

High cholesterol level 

Age

Smoking

Gender

Heart disease (e.g. ischemic heart disease, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, valvular heart disease

 

 

Stroke can also be associated with cardiac disorders such as atrial fibrillation and heart valve disease. When a stroke strikes anyone under 50, illicit drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine are fewer significant hazard factors, ruptured aneurysms, and genetic susceptibility to irregular blood coagulation.

Symptoms of Stroke to Watch Out For

If you suspect or spot anyone is having a stroke, pay close attention to when the symptoms started. Some therapy options are most helpful when administered immediately after a stroke occurs.

Among the stroke signs and symptoms are:

  • Difficulty speaking. They might be perplexed, mumble words, and even have difficulty understanding what others are saying.
  • Face, arm, or leg paralysis. Only one side of the body is usually affected. Simultaneously time, try raising both arms overhead. Someone might be having a stroke if one arm starts to fall. While you attempt to smile, one side of the lips might drop.
  • Inability to walk. One might have disorientation or impaired coordination, causing one to trip and fall while attempting to walk.
  • Headache. An unexpected, intense headache, together with nausea, dizziness, or changed awareness, could be a sign of a stroke.
  • Vision problems. One may experience blurred eyesight or distorted or clouded vision in one or both eyes.

BE FAST: Catch the Early Signs of Stroke

If you encounter someone who appears to be suffering from a stroke, seek immediate help right once, albeit they appear to be coming and going or resolved entirely. Just remember to "BE FAST" and follow the steps below:

Balance

Drowsiness, stumbling, or a loss of balance are some of the stroke onsets that occur when a stroke affects a person's balance.

Eyes

A stroke patient may experience fuzzy or darkened vision. Patients may have trouble seeing in either eye, and some may see doubled images.

Face

The drooping or numbness from one side of the face. Please ask that the person smile and see whether the smile is even.

Arm

If one of the patient's arms is faint or unresponsive, instruct them to raise both arms. When they raise both arms at once, one arm may fall to the ground.

Speech

Communication difficulties, cognitive issues, slurred speech, and disorientation are all indicators of speech problems. Tell the person in need to say a simple phrase and listen for mumbled or odd speech.

Time

Time is crucial in preventing irreversible damage after a stroke. Each second counts when it comes to brain cells dying; therefore, call 955 or the emergency helpline right away if you fear your loved one is experiencing stroke symptoms.

6 Underlying Causes of Stroke

Fully understanding what factors raise your risk of having a stroke may help you mitigate the likelihood or perhaps prevent one from happening. The earlier an individual experiencing a stroke receives treatment, the higher their chances of recovery. As a result, identifying the root causes of a stroke is beneficial so you can take immediate action:

Age

If it concerns stroke risk, your age might help you know whether you're in greater danger. Because arteries gradually contract and harden as we age, older folks are at more significant risk of stroke than younger generations.

Family History

Genetic diseases can cause blood flow to the brain to be blocked. If you have a close relative who has had a stroke, you could be in danger of developing one yourself.

Weight

Being overweight or excessive weight gain increases our risk of developing health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, resulting in a massive chance of stroke.

Excessive Alcohol Intake

Heavy alcohol consumption can raise your risk of stroke by causing high cholesterol, hypertension, and irregular heartbeats.

Tobacco Use

Cigarette smoke, albeit secondhand smoke, can lead arterial fat to develop and the blood to stiffen. Blood clots, which can provoke a stroke, are more likely to form as a consequence. Nicotine, included in cigarettes and tobacco, can lead to hypertension, potentially resulting in a stroke.

Existing Health Conditions

Stroke risk is associated with certain pre-existing medical problems. A previous stroke or transient ischemic attack, hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and a blood coagulation disorder are just a few diseases that might cause a TIA.

How Is Stroke Caught and Diagnosed?

If stroke goes undiagnosed and untreated for a considerable amount of time, the greater brain cells are starved of oxygen-rich circulation, and more brain cells will die.

  • MRI. It helps to locate and diagnose a stroke by detecting minute changes in brain tissue using magnetic fields.
  • Brain CT Scan. The comprehensive imaging test can reveal brain haemorrhage or damage from a stroke to cells in the brain. It can contribute to detecting strokes and other abnormalities by determining the size and type of stroke.
  • Carotid Ultrasound. It depicts the patient's carotid arteries to determine whether the plaque has restricted or obstructed them.
  • CT Angiogram. It obtains precise X-ray scanning of the blood vessels to determine what obstructs or blocks blood flow.

While time is crucial in diagnosing a stroke, numerous patients do not have fast access to clinical diagnostics. The Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale is then used by EMTs, paramedics, or first responders to assess a stroke and inform the emergency rooms.

Preventive Measures to Address Stroke

Red Crowns Nursing Care can help our elderly loved ones and perhaps even ourselves avert a stroke. Lifestyle changes, nutrition, alternative therapies, self-control and discipline, can prevent you from getting a stroke.

People can do this by making adjustments to their lifestyles, such as:

Maintain a Normal Blood Pressure

The main culprit of stroke is hypertension. A healthy and productive lifestyle, balanced diet and frequent exercise can effectively reduce your risk of blood clots. Sadly, determining whether or not you have hypertension is often not straightforward, so it's better to learn your stats and have your blood pressure taken regularly.

Quit Smoking Habits

Smoking is highly addicting, and it can be challenging to break the habit once you start. However, gently weaning yourself off from this routine will benefit your health and help you avoid strokes, resulting in a lifelong disability that can influence your entire life.

Keep a Healthy Heart

It's critical to assess your cardiovascular health continuously, notably if you've had cardiac problems. Check with your physician regularly and know how to handle your condition correctly to lower your chance of a stroke.

Engage in an Active Lifestyle

Both body and the mind gain from exercising. It helps with weight loss, which decreases the probability of chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol, which are all potential causes of stroke.

Watch Out for Too Much Alcohol

Constantly try and keep your alcohol consumption under control and drink moderately. Women are often advised to limit themselves to one drink per day, while men must restrict themselves to two drinks daily.

Maintain a Proper, Nutritious Diet

Consume a variety of healthy foods in addition to manufactured foods that are high in salt, harmful fats, and refined carbs. Processed food intake in excess can block arteries and raise blood pressure.

Manage Your Cholesterol Levels

Staying in shape and dietary changes help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the likelihood of stroke, just as they can with diabetes. Effective management and taking prescription medicine at the correct intervals can significantly boost your condition.

Take Proper Medication

Regular physical activity, a nutritious diet, and taking medicine as the doctor prescribes are essential in managing existing medical disorders, including diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

Seek Recovery Support With Red Crowns

If you think you're having a stroke, get help right away. While it's impossible to avoid a stroke, several lifestyle interventions can significantly diminish your likelihood.

Nursing homes and elder care living facilities are established to continue providing quality care and support to the elderly, particularly those with limitations or severe chronic illnesses. It's appropriate to enlist the services of specialists when caring for your loved ones, primarily if they demand more inpatient care.

Red Crowns Nurses are devoted to serving your elderly loved ones to achieve a comfortable life during their recovery phase. We offer various services, including personal care, medical treatment, and even assistance in looking after your loved one if they wish to participate in social or recreational events. Red Crowns Senior Living is the most excellent option for dependable, preventive healthcare and reliable caregiver support if you're looking for a nursing care alternative in Singapore.

Get in touch with us.

Learn more about Red Crowns. You may contact us for more information about our services and locations, get a quote or to schedule a tour.
+65 9800 5297
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