Monday, August 19, 2013

Act Swiftly To Minimize Damage For Stroke Patients!

Being the third leading cause of death in the United States, stroke is a leading culprit of serious, long-term disability in adults. Each year, about 600,000 new strokes are reported in the United States.

A stroke, sometimes also called a brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. The brain cells in the affected area begin to die because they stop getting oxygen and nutrients they need to function.

Fortunately, treatments are available that can greatly reduce the damage caused by a stroke. But symptoms of a stroke must first be recognized. Such symptoms include numbness or feeling weak in the face, arm or leg, having trouble speaking or understanding, unexplained dizziness, and blurred or poor vision in one or both eyes.

Patients who suffer an ischemic stroke can be treated with a drug called t-PA that dissolves blood clots obstructing blood flow to the brain. But treatment must be done within 3 hours, and the patient must also be sent to hospital within 60 minutes in order to be evaluated and receive treatment. The earlier the clot is resolved, the more brain cells can be saved.

A 5-year study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) reported that some stroke patients who received t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator) within 3 hours of the start of stroke symptoms were at least 30 percent more likely to recover with little or no disability after 3 months.

Meanwhile, regular exercise can also help stroke patients as it triggers healing in the brain. According to the findings announced at the Canadian Stroke Congress in 2012, regular exercise within 6 months of suffering a stroke can improve memory, language, thinking and judgment problems by almost 50 percent.

Nevertheless, doing something to prevent a stroke before it occurs is better than trying to save the brain later on when getting one.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) has been known to be the strongest risk factor for stroke. But blood pressure can be controlled by regular exercise.

Exercising regularly makes the heart stronger. This decreases the force exerted on the arteries, and so blood pressure would not be raised. Regular exercise can also help a person maintain a healthy weight that can help control blood pressure, too.

Besides hypertension, heart disease, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol are also some of the risk factors. So if one smokes, quit smoking immediately. If one has heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol, getting and keeping them control is important because this will greatly lower the risk of getting a stroke.

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