Tag Archives: stroke

Strike Away Stroke..FAST

Its World Stroke Day..so it might be timely to reiterate what I consider the most important point in handling someone who is suspected of suffering from ‘brain attack‘ – acting FAST.

stroke_prevention2Of the four points, perhaps the last is most crucial in determining the chances of survival and the probability of recovery. Every second delayed in receiving treatment means more brain cells die . The thing about the brain is once cells die, they do not get replaced, unlike other organs in the body like the liver.

Nowadays, its possible to dissolve the clot causing the stroke (the ischemic variety, not the bleeding form) by injecting a clot-dissolving medicine into the veins; but to re-emphasize, time is of utmost importance.

One might wonder – how do you prevent stroke in the first place?

A study conducted in England by four researchers, one of whom came from Malaysia and was a classmate of mine, showed quite conclusively that one could reduce the chances of getting stroke by 50% if one adopted the following measures:

  • not smoking
  • being physically active
  • limiting their alcohol intake to not more than 14 units a week
  • fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day.

Apart from the above, it is well-known that the presence of the following risk-factors also predispose to stroke: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (irregular heart-beats), heart disease and certain blood diseases which cause clotting.

As they say, prevention is better than cure.

 

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Strike Away Stroke FAST

Some readers of this blog asked what they can do to prevent  a stroke from hitting them. Plenty!

A very recent research study just released  stroke_prevention2in the British Medical Journal by 4 authors, one of whom is a Malaysian classmate who now works in the UK, reveals 4 things that people can do to reduce the chances of getting a stroke by half.

The study, conducted in England involving 20,000 people over 11 years, showed that they could reduce the chances of getting stroke by 50% if they did all the following life-style measures:

  • not smoking
  • being physically active
  • limiting their alcohol intake to not more than 14 units a week
  • fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day.

Apart from the above, it is well-known that the presence of the following risk-factors also predispose to stroke: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (irregular heart-beats), heart disease and certain blood diseases which cause clotting.

One does need to realise, however, that some risk-factors cannot be changed or eliminated. Try changing your age (the chance of having a stroke approximately doubles for each decade of life after age 55), sex (more common in men), your relatives( your stroke risk is greater if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke) or the fact that you have had a previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA, or warning strokes)!

The whole idea of getting away from stroke is to eliminate as many of the above risk-factors as possible and to lead a healthy lifestyle.

See my related article “Mending A Stroke In Time”.

Stroke..A Timely Reminder

Some friends asked me how can they know when someone has a stroke and what they should do about it. Its summarised quite well on this chart.

A few words about the last point –  stroke is a medical emergency. If given through the veins within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke, by dissolving the clot that caused the blockage.  In some cases, the stroke may be completely cured. As this drug can only be given in hospital, its important to transport a person suspected of a stroke to the Emergency Department as soon as possible.

Striking A Stroke Off Before It Strikes You – 4 Simple Tests

Some readers of this blog asked what they can do to prevent  a stroke from hitting them. Plenty! A very recent research study just released  in the British Medical Journal by 4 authors, one of whom is a Malaysian classmate of mine who now works in the UK, reveals 4 things that people can do to reduce the chances of getting a stroke by half.

The study, conducted in England involving 20,000 people over 11 years, showed that they could reduce the chances of getting stroke by 50% if they did all the following life-style measures:

  • not smoking
  • being physically active
  • limiting their alcohol intake to not more than 14 units a week
  • fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day.

Apart from the above, it is well-known that the presence of the following risk-factors also predispose to stroke: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (irregular heart-beats), heart disease and certain blood diseases which cause clotting.

One does need to realise, however, that some risk-factors cannot be changed or eliminated. Try changing your age (the chance of having a stroke approximately doubles for each decade of life after age 55), sex (more common in men), your relatives( your stroke risk is greater if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke) or the fact that you have had a previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA, or warning strokes)!

Is It A Stroke? 4 Simple Tests You Can Do

 

The whole idea of getting away from stroke is to eliminate as many of the above risk-factors as possible and to lead a healthy lifestyle.

See my related article “Mending A Stroke In Time”.

Striking Away Stroke

Some readers of this blog asked what they can do to prevent  a stroke from hitting them. Plenty! A very recent research study just released  stroke_prevention2in the British Medical Journal by 4 authors, one of whom is a Malaysian classmate who now works in the UK, reveals 4 things that people can do to reduce the chances of getting a stroke by half.

The study, conducted in England involving 20,000 people over 11 years, showed that they could reduce the chances of getting stroke by 50% if they did all the following life-style measures:

  • not smoking
  • being physically active
  • limiting their alcohol intake to not more than 14 units a week
  • fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day.

Apart from the above, it is well-known that the presence of the following risk-factors also predispose to stroke: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (irregular heart-beats), heart disease and certain blood diseases which cause clotting.

One does need to realise, however, that some risk-factors cannot be changed or eliminated. Try changing your age (the chance of having a stroke approximately doubles for each decade of life after age 55), sex (more common in men), your relatives( your stroke risk is greater if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke) or the fact that you have had a previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA, or warning strokes)!

The whole idea of getting away from stroke is to eliminate as many of the above risk-factors as possible and to lead a healthy lifestyle.

See my related article “Mending A Stroke In Time”.

Mending A Stroke In Time

Most people do not know the five warning signs of a stroke and what to do if they suspect one. This was the research finding from a presentation at an International Stroke Conference in San Diego,California today. This aside, from my personal interactions with members of the public, quite a few did not also know that a stroke has nothing to do with the heart.

Briefly, a stroke is either due to bursting or blockage of one of the blood vessels in the brain, causing possible permanent injury to the part of the brain that is affected.

stroke_hemorrhage1

2 Kinds Of Stroke: Here, due to a burst blood vessel..

stroke_ischemia

..and here, due to a blood-clot causing a blockage.

What are the warning signs?

The research study confirmed what many doctors know : most people do not know the 5 warning signs that herald an impending stroke. If only they did; because if treatment is given early in hospital, quite a bit of the permanent complications could be minimised, if not avoided.

stroke_warning_signs

Advice from the American Stroke Association: when these signs occur, get to hospital quick

Why the Urgency To Get To Hospital?

Because stroke is a medical emergency. If given through the veins within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke, by dissolving the clot that caused the blockage.  In some cases, the stroke may be completely cured. Read more here.

In areas where ambulance service is poor, it makes sense to get to the hospital as soon as you can…because time lost is brain lost.

See also my latest article “Striking Away Stroke”

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