Hospice Care Charleston SC

What is a Stroke and How Can You Reduce Your Risk?

Strokes also known as cerebrovascular accidents are the number 5 cause of death and one of the major causes of disability in the United States.

We deal with many different conditions in caring for our clients. Amongst the things we want to do is turn this blog into a resource and to this end, we will be creating a series of posts dealing with these conditions. This is the first of those.

What is a Stroke?

There are three types of strokes. These are:

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Ischemic stroke which is caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain. This accounts for 80% of stroke causes,

Hemorrhagic stroke which occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and blood does not get to the brain.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) also known as a mini stroke is caused by a temporary clot. These are often called a warning stroke,  and research shows that there is an increased possibility of an ischemic stroke happening within seven days, sometimes even the same day.

The National Institute of Health created a stroke scale that consists of testing various capabilities and assigning a value between 0 and 2, 3, or 4 to each test. The final score ranges from 0 to 42. Scores 21 and above are considered to be a severe stroke.

What are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

The main stroke symptoms are the suddenly following appearing:

Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side of the body.

Trouble speaking, difficulty understanding speech, and/or confusion.

Vision issues in one or both eyes.

Dizziness, loss of balance, lack of coordination and trouble walking,

A headache with no known cause

As with show many conditions the more rapid the intervention the better the prognosis. Anyone can do a quick evaluation, using the FAST acronym, if they suspect a stroke.

F-Face: Try to get the person to smile and check if the face droops.

A-Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms and note whether one tends to drop down,

S-Speech: Give the person a simple phrase and ask them to repeat it. Listen to the response and establish whether is slurred or garbled,

T-Time: Call for help if any of these appear.

Causes of a Stroke

There are multiple factors that increase the risk of  a stroke

Lifestyle risk factors

  • Being overweight
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Excessive drinking
  • Illegal drug use

Medical risk factors

  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking or secondhand smoke exposure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Personal or family history of stroke, TIA, or heart attack

Effects of a Stroke

The effect of a stroke can be devastating. They can include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty in communication, memory, concentration, and difficulty in planning, reasoning, and problem-solving
  • Difficulty with even simple physical activities and spatial awareness.

Post-Stroke Care

This involves physiotherapy as well as occupational therapy. These are aimed at remediation and adaptation. Often a speech and language therapist is needed as well.







Disclaimer: The content here is for informational purposes only. Always seek proper medical advice for any condition.