At a glance
- Strokes are one of the world’s biggest killers today, and a leading cause of disability — so it’s important to understand what causes them.
- In a stroke, a blockage or burst blood vessel deprives an area of your brain of its blood supply, causing vital brain tissue to die.
- To reduce your risk, stop smoking, lower your stress, keep fit, eat a healthy diet, manage diabetes and control your blood pressure.
Understanding the cause of strokes
Strokes are one of the world’s biggest killers today, and a leading cause of severe disability. Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke. And nearly one in four men and one in five women aged 45 can expect to have a stroke if they live to 85. However, knowledge is power. When we understand what causes strokes, and how we can lower our risk of one, we can take steps to live a healthier, and hopefully longer, life.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a “brain attack”. It happens when a blockage or burst blood vessel deprives an area of the brain of its blood supply for 24 hours or more, causing vital brain tissue to die. Your brain regulates all your body’s actions, from breathing and sleeping to movement, thoughts and emotions. Without a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients, your brain cells become damaged or die. And, unlike other cells in the body, once they have died they cannot regrow. There are two main types of stroke:
- An ischaemic stroke — one of your body’s arteries becomes blocked by a blood clot.
- A haemorrhagic stroke — a blood vessel in or around your brain ruptures, causing bleeding. Blood accumulates and presses on your brain, damaging the delicate tissues and starving other brain cells in the area of blood.
Some people experience a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), often known as a mini-stroke. This occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted for less than 24 hours. It is followed by complete recovery, but it can be a warning sign of a subsequent stroke.
What are the signs of a stroke?
Signs of a stroke include:
- Weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side.
- Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Severe headache with no known cause.
If you or someone else is having symptoms of a stroke, it’s important to get emergency help fast. Early treatment increases the chance of making a better recovery.
How you can reduce your risk of a stroke
You can reduce your risk of a stroke by:
- Controlling your blood pressure.
- Stopping smoking.
- Eating a high fibre diet that’s low in fat and salt.
- Managing your diabetes, if you have it.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Staying active.
- Drinking only in moderation.
- Lowering your stress levels.
Strokes are a leading cause of death and disability. However, by understanding how they’re caused and what you can do to reduce your risk of having one, you can make changes to your life and look forward to many more fit and active years ahead. If you want to reduce your risk of a stroke then you have to follow Regular Check up and take prescription from doctor according to your test report.