Strokes are the second most common type of fatal disease to affect the United States. There are about 75,000 cases of stroke each year. While the percent of adults who suffer from a stroke each year is 5%, children suffer from a stroke at about a rate of 10% each year. The incidence rate for children is estimated to be about 10-15 times higher than that of adults.
Strokes are the most serious and most common medical emergency encountered in the United States each year. A stroke occurs when an artery of the brain bursts or tears and hemorrhages resulting in brain damage. This can affect one or both sides of the brain. The effects of a stroke can be minimal or severe. Acute (first-time) strokes have an incidence of about one in every eight strokes, while chronic (third or more time) strokes result in about one in three strokes per year.
There are several risk factors for strokes. These risk factors include hypertension, heart disease, older age, diabetes, cigarette smoking, abnormal blood lipid levels, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure. Prior strokes are an important risk factor for stroke but do not necessarily occur before the stroke. Age, medication use, and other risk factors have already been established as important contributors to stroke.
The most common sign of a stroke is the sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body. Other signs and symptoms may include problems with speaking or understanding speech, sudden confusion, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, sudden severe headache with no known cause, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination or trouble speaking.
If you have signs or symptoms of a stroke, call 911 or another emergency service right away. Even if you are not sure that a stroke is occurring, its importance is cannot be overstated. Every second counts and each minute can be vital for a stroke victim.
The best protection and prevention of strokes is ensuring that high blood pressure is treated as soon as possible and that cholesterol levels are continuously monitored. Regular physical activity, medication as needed, and a healthy diet are also important in the treatment and prevention of stroke. A healthy lifestyle can prevent both stroke and heart disease.
Doctors with specialties in the field of stroke are literally rocket scientists in their studies and they spend a lot of time trying to discover the causes and risk factors for strokes. They also try to prevent strokes by treating and preventing hypertension, the troublesome high blood pressure that causes strokes. They may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication or even suggest lifestyle changes such as getting your weight under control and stopping smoking.
A healthy diet, lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure regularly, following a safe and regular exercise routine, and taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are important in the treatment of stroke. Even if you have already had a stroke, smaller attacks and the entire event as less than a half-hour make a difference for better recovery. Keeping your head up and looking forward to the day will also give you some positive effects.
While some strokes are Grad indications of lapses in the mind such as lack of concentration or memory, other strokes are more serious and may be caused by dementia or other physical or mental disorders. It is important that you tell your doctor if you are having unexplained difficulty speaking, thinking, or remembering. Negative mood, fatigue, and other negative moods are also warning signs of stroke and should be told to a doctor immediately. Other warning signs are signs of stroke that occur suddenly, are full of sudden pain, or cause numbness in one side of the body. If you are having any of these symptoms, it is important to call your doctor immediately.