A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes.
A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can reduce brain damage and other complications.
Like all parts of the body, the brain needs a continuous supply of oxygen to function properly. When that oxygen supply is cut off, brain tissues begin to die within minutes, never to regenerate. This tissue death is what happens during a stroke.
A stroke occurs when blood carrying oxygen and other nutrients to the brain is blocked or interrupted; the extent of the damage to the brain usually depends upon the length of the interruption and the speed with which treatment is received. As most of us know, strokes are extremely serious and often fatal. They are the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.
An overwhelming percentage of strokes are caused by arteriosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits build up inside the arterial walls and obstruct blood flow. An artery leading to the brain may become so thick with plaque that the passage of blood is effectively blocked. The blood supply may also be shut off if a clot lodges itself in an artery that’s already damaged and narrow. In a few cases, a cerebral blood vessel will actually rupture. High blood pressure is also a major predisposition to strokes, which damage the arteries and may cause a rupture; it, too, can often be managed with proper diet, exercise, supplementation, and stress management.
Although we’ve been conditioned to think of strokes as tragic but unpreventable accidents that occur in old age, the truth is that arteriosclerosis is often a condition caused or made more probable by controllable lifestyle factors.
Although arteries do tend to weaken, as we get older, poor diet and lack of exercise, along with uncontrolled stress, are reasons that plaque builds up in the arteries in the first place. Genetic cardiovascular risk factors also play a role for many people.
A few other factors also increase the risk for stroke. If you have an irregular heartbeat or a damaged heart valve or have suffered a recent heart attack, you should be especially vigilant about your health and should be monitored regularly by a doctor. Women who take oral contraceptives and who smoke also have a greater chance of developing blood clots, as so women on certain types of synthetic hormone replacement.
It’s difficult to say exactly what the consequences of a stroke will be. The damage largely depends upon which brain tissues are deprived of oxygen and how long the interruption of blood flow lasts. If the blood flow is suspended for only a few seconds, you may experience visual and speech problems, weakness, trembling, or confusion, but it’s likely that you’ll soon return to normal. People who survive longer periods of oxygen deprivation may suffer lasting damage to their vision, speech, coordination, or movement, although physical therapy may restore some or even total functioning.
Symptoms Of Stroke
If you or someone you’re with may be having a stroke, pay particular attention to the time the symptoms began. Some treatment options are most effective when given soon after a stroke begins.
Signs And Symptoms Of Stroke Include:
- Trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying. You may experience confusion, slur your words or have difficulty understanding speech.
- Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg. You may develop sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis in your face, arm or leg. This often affects just one side of your body. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Also, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile.
- Problems seeing in one or both eyes. You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or you may see double.
- A sudden, severe headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness, may indicate that you’re having a stroke.
- Trouble walking. You may stumble or lose your balance. You may also have sudden dizziness or a loss of coordination.
Complications Of Stroke
A stroke can sometimes cause temporary or permanent disabilities, depending on how long the brain lacks blood flow and which part was affected.
Complications may include:
- Paralysis or loss of muscle movement. You may become paralyzed on one side of your body, or lose control of certain muscles, such as those on one side of your face or one arm.
- Difficulty talking or swallowing. A stroke might affect control of the muscles in your mouth and throat, making it difficult for you to talk clearly, swallow or eat. You also may have difficulty with language, including speaking or understanding speech, reading, or writing.
- Memory loss or thinking difficulties. Many people who have had strokes experience some memory loss. Others may have difficulty thinking, reasoning, making judgments and understanding concepts.
- Emotional problems. People who have had strokes may have more difficulty controlling their emotions, or they may develop depression.
- Pain, numbness or other unusual sensations may occur in the parts of the body affected by stroke. For example, if a stroke causes you to lose feeling in your left arm, you may develop an uncomfortable tingling sensation in that arm.
- Changes in behavior and self-care ability. People who have had strokes may become more withdrawn. They may need help with grooming and daily chores.
Nutritional Recommendation For Stroke
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