Stroke is one of the leading causes of deaths in Pakistan. Around 300,000 new patients of stroke are reported every year in Pakistan which mostly includes people over 40 years of age. Among these, 20 to 35 percent are young people. Despite being a major health issue, not enough measures have been implemented to prevent this disease. Most of the people are unaware of the conditions leading to stroke. They get to know about it too late when the patient’s health is worsened and they are left with permanent disabilities; paralysis, memory loss, reduced vision, sensory loss and speech problems. In order to prevent the stroke and to get it treated in time, it is very important to know its causes and symptoms.
Symptoms and Causes of Stroke that We All Need to Know
There are three types of stroke which affect the brain in different ways and have various causes.
Ischemic Stroke is the most common type of stroke. It occurs when the blood clot is formed which blocks the supply of oxygen and blood to the brain cells. Around 80% of all strokes are ischemic. The blood clots are usually formed in the areas of brain where the arteries have already been blocked or narrowed due to fatty deposits called plaques. The arteries get eventually blocked or narrowed as you get older, but there are a few things that can stimulate the process. These are:
High Blood Pressure
Smoking and alcohol intake
Another cause of ischemic stroke is a kind of heart disease known as ‘Atrial fibrillation’. It is caused when the blood clots already present in heart break up and enter the vessels supplying blood and oxygen to brain.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when the artery of brain ruptures or leaks blood in and around the brain. The leaked blood results in increased pressure in skull and swelling of brain. This further damages brain tissues and cells. The major cause of this stroke is high blood pressure that can weaken the brain arteries and make them vulnerable to burst. Following reasons can increase the risk of high blood pressure leading to stroke:
Excessive alcohol intake
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Transient Ischemic Attack is often known as ‘mini stroke’. It occurs when the blood flow to brain is blocked for a short time. After that, symptoms usually go away and the blood flow is restored. Usually, TIAs do not cause any permanent damage but it should be taken as a warning sign that a major stroke may occur in future and proper treatment should be taken.
Symptoms of Stroke
Symptoms of the stroke occur suddenly. If you face any of these symptoms in yourself or someone in front of you, call for help immediately.
- Difficulty in speaking
- Numbness of face, arm, leg or one side of body
- Blurred vision and trouble seeing
- Severe headache along with vomiting and weakness
- Difficulty in walking, dizziness or loss of consciousness
Stroke can cause temporary or permanent damage depending on its severity. It is very important to get help as soon as you notice above symptoms. The quicker you get the treatment, the higher your chances of survival and good recovery.