The word Stroke surely strikes a strong reaction from anyone today. The most important thing to know here is that Stroke is different from a heart attack, although they might seem to suggest similar problems.
A heart attack is when there is damage to the heart’s muscles and this is because there was not enough blood flow. This can be due to the blood clot forming on one of the arteries connected to the heart muscle which was supposed to supply the blood. With that, the flow of blood is blocked or restricted and when that happens, the heart is not getting enough blood which will eventually cause pain in the chest.
On the other hand, a stroke happens through a similar start but instead of affecting the heart, it affects the brain. In other words, you can say that a stroke is actually ‘brain attack’ as opposed to ‘heart attack’. When the blood clot is formed in the arteries and blood flow is stopped or restricted from going to the heart, it affects the brain which begins to stop functioning. Unlike a heart attack, it does not cause any sort of pain or anything like that. Instead, it will affect one side of the body where you lose the feeling or the ability to activate that part.
A person who suffered a stroke will have their senses affected, most likely the speech. One side of the body might be paralyzed and it could result in memory and through pattern changes too. It can be treated if detected early with symptoms like blurred vision, numbness on either side of the body, slurring, loss of feeling of touch, sudden headaches that are severe and others, all of which should get immediate medical attention. Smokers, alcohol drinkers, people with high blood pressure and obesity are major causes of strokes.
The best way to prevent stroke is to lead a healthy lifestyle. The main reason why stroke is the ‘top killer’ in many countries around the world is mainly because of food intake and the way people lead their lives. Taking important minerals and nutrients that help in regulating blood circulation will help in reducing blood pressure that usually leads to hypertension and potentially causing strokes. This can be helped by taking food with high fiber like vegetables and vegetables while reducing foods with saturated fats are all methods to prevent stroke as well.
6 ways to prevent stroke
It is imperative that you know what you can do to avoid being at the risk of getting a stroke. Below are the top 6 ways to prevent this killer disease.
- Blood pressure – One of the biggest factors that contribute to stroke is high blood pressure. In fact, your stroke risk can be doubled or quadrupled if you do not get it checked and controlled. The best and ideal blood pressure to reduce your risk of stroke is 135/85 or around 140/90. Avoid taking too much salt in your and foods that are high cholesterol. Meanwhile, ensure you take lots of vegetables and fruits daily.
- Weight – Keep your weight in check. Try to keep your BMI at the ideal which is 25 or lower. But if that is not possible, then you should talk to a dietician to see how you can achieve the ideal weight. Being overweight will be your biggest concern and could add to your risk factor.
- Exercise – This is a no-brainer and you need to really exercise no matter how old you are. In fact, you must be at the top of your health by taking walks whenever you can. If you have no time to go to the gym or if you cannot do rigorous exercise, then do whatever is convenient for you. Try Tai Chi
- Alcohol – There is actually medical research to prove that alcohol can reduce the risk of stroke. Even if this is so, it does not mean you should go out and start binging on drinking. Do this in moderation and be conscious of why you are doing so.
- Atrial Fibrillation – When you have this condition (irregular heartbeat caused by clots around the heart), you must get it treated as soon as possible. Leaving it untreated actually increases your stroke risk by at least 5 times.
- Diabetics – If you have diabetes, then your risk of stroke is very high. This is because it has already been found that having high levels of blood sugar is actually very damaging to the blood vessels.
Types of Stroke
There are several types of strokes that collectively make it one of the top killers in the country. To know how they will attack and when it is essential to know all there is to know about them. Below are the few types of strokes and their characteristics.
Ischemic stroke is sometimes known as clots. This is the type of stroke that would occur when there is some form of obstruction along the blood vessels that are supplying blood to the brain. It must be noted that without proper and consistent blood supply to the brain, it will not function and the person will be regarded as dead. What many people do not know is that ischemic stroke actually attributes to the highest percentage among stroke patients. In some countries, they go up to more than 85%.
The cause of ischemic stroke is mostly due to fatty deposits that can line up the walls in the blood vessels. This is a condition known as atherosclerosis. It must be noted that atherosclerosis is actually the main cause of this form of stroke. All in all, obstructions can come in 2 forms which are:
- Cerebral thrombosis – This occurs when a blood clot or thrombus start developing around the fatty plaque in the blood vessel that can cause the obstruction
- Cerebral embolism – This occurs when a blood clot start to develop not within the blood vessel but instead it develops in a separate location around the circulatory system. The most common places that it can develop is usually in the upper chest or neck’s large arteries and also around the heart. It will then happen that some parts of the blood clot will break free in which it will then creeps into the bloodstream before getting into the blood vessels in the brain. This will then reach the vessels which are too small. The reason why this happens is a situation called atrial fibrillation or irregular heart rates where clots start to develop in crucial organs like the heart.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs in a condition where there is internal bleeding. This is most common when a blood vessel ruptures or bursts. Such blood vessels will burst because it is already weakened in the first place. Here, blood vessels that are weakened are quite commonly caused either by AVMs or arteriovenous malformations or aneurysms. Meanwhile, people with extremely high bldiagood pressure too will be at risk of getting a haemorrhagic stroke.
Compared to ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke constitutes a smaller number and is most prevalent among people who are overweight or obese. When a weakened vessel ruptures, the blood will bleed around the brain’s surroundings. This will then accumulate and eventually it will compress the brain tissue, causing it to malfunction before eventually stopping to work altogether. There ar2 in general 2 types of hemorrhagic strokes which are:
- Intracerebral hemorrhage which occurs within the brain
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
With hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes, it is very much confirmed and concluded that the stroke was caused by a blood clot which obstructed blood flow to the brain that can be fatal. However, there are situations when a patient can be diagnosed or experienced stroke but the cause is actually inconclusive. This is even after many rounds of testing that has been carried out. When such an event occurs, it is known as cryptogenic stroke which in other words means an unknown cause. When this happens, it becomes necessary to get more experts into the matter so that more diagnoses and tests can be carried out. Without determining the root cause of the stroke, the doctor is unable to carry out proper diagnosis and then treatment cannot be carried out properly.
As such, it becomes imperative that specialists such as electrophysiologists, neurologists, cardiologists and others would need to come together in order to get more answers to treat the patient.
Brain Stem Stroke
A brain stem stroke would possibly the worst form of stroke because it will cause a person to be paralyzed from the neck down. This is because the stroke took place in the brain stem which naturally will affect both sides of the body. When a person becomes paralyzed from the neck down, it is known as a ‘locked-in’ state. This is a terrible situation to be in where the patient will no longer be able to move any part of the body below the neck or even speak.
It must be noted that among the various types of strokes, brain stem strokes would possibly be the hardest to diagnose because of its complexity in symptoms. It could start from more minor brain-related problems like migraines, vertigo and just normal dizziness, all of which will not have any sign of a stroke. The most common type of symptom would be some form of weakness on either one side of the body. In some cases, the patient could experience more serious symptoms such as slurred speech or double vision.
What is the brain stem?
The brain stem is actually a very small part of the brain which is only about half an inch size. The role, however, is huge as it controls all the basic activities within the central nervous system. This simply means that the brain stem pretty much controls the activities that involve breathing, the consciousness and the blood pressure of the person. When a patient gets brain stem stroke, it must be treated in the shortest time possible or the condition (paralyzed) might become permanent. If a blood clot is the cause of the stroke, then blood flow should be restored in the shortest time possible. this will increase the chance of recovering the movements of the body.
A person who has hypertension, diabetes, atrial fibrillation or coronary disease would be at high risk of developing brain stem stroke. Smokers too will be at high risk of this disease. Blood clots and haemorrhage are known causes of brain stem strokes as well while in some rare cases, an injury like a hard blow to the head could cause this condition as well. The recovery process meanwhile is possible although it would take a long time. Since the patient is still able to understand language, it helps that the patient could be more involved during the rehabilitation and recovery process.
Transient Ischemic Attack
Known in short as TIA, this is known as a mini-stroke. What actually happens is that the patient will experience a TIA because of a temporary clot which could be serious. Most people will say that a mini-stroke is like a warning that must be attended to as soon as possible. In fact, the patient should be calling the doctor and has it check instead of ignoring it. There is a high chance that a mini-stroke could well develop into a full-fledge stroke in a relatively short time. People who are overweight and those with high blood pressure would be at the highest risk of getting TIA. Patients must take heed of such signs and make that drastic change before it develops further.
Signs that you might be having a stroke are very obvious and if it occurs, chances are you do not have much time to get it treated. A stroke can happen like lightning and the person would collapse. However, there are situations where you might have some time to get it treated. This is when you face a sudden difficulty in walking or talking and more so when you have a certain weakness on one side of your body. The most common method of diagnostic that the doctor will usually carry out is to use a Brain-Computer Tomography or CT scan while MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is used as well which will then determine the next course of action for you.
Administering to Stroke Patients
In most cases, stroke patients will go through an SOP (standard operating procedure) after they have been diagnosed with this condition. The first step that most doctors will take is to carry out a physical examination. This is where the doctor will go through your family’s history and whatever symptoms you are experiencing and then carry out a detailed evaluation and determine if the same symptoms are still there which means the condition is very much confirmed. Among the issues that will raise include:
- What medications are you currently taking?
- Did you sustain any injuries to the head recently?
- Any of your family members have heart diseases or conditions?
- Are there sounds in your lungs (usually checked using a stethoscope)?
- Blood pressure level
- Signs of blood clots around the head
Types of diagnostic tests
Meanwhile, the doctor will also carry out various types of tests for further diagnosis. This includes:
- Carotid ultrasound – This process creates detailed images of the carotid arteries in the neck using sound waves. The objective is to let the doctor see if there are plaques or fatty deposits built-up around those areas,
- Blood test – There will be several types of blood tests being carried out here. This is to check how fast your blood is clotting and also about the sugar level. Besides that, the test will check if any of the blood chemicals are not in their place and if you are experiencing any form of infection.
- CT Scan – The Computerized Tomography scan gives the doctor an image of your brain. This will show if there is a tumor or any form of hemorrhage that is causing the symptom. This procedure might include injecting a dye into the bloodstream.
- MRI – The Magnetic Resonance Imaging procedure is another form of the imaging process of your brain. The MRI is more powerful as it can detect any damaged brain tissues due to hemorrhage or ischemic stroke. Similarly to CT scan, a dye might be used to seep into the blood vessels.
- Cerebral Angiogram – What happens in this procedure is that a tube that is very thin and flexible is inserted usually in the groin and then goes through the major arteries to the carotid. A dye is used to enable better visibility when X-ray imaging is carried out so that the arteries in the neck and brain areas can be seen clearly.
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram – A flexible tube is being inserted from the throat and then to the esophagus or stomach to create a clear and concise image of the heart. Doctors can find any blood clots with this test and then administer the suitable procedure accordingly.
- Echocardiogram – Sound waves are used to form the heart’s image. Doctors use this to find clots around the heart that might be the cause of the symptom.
Treatment for Ischemic Stroke Patients
When there is a block in the artery resulting in a stroke, the right treatment must be administered in order to cure the patient as soon as possible. the idea is to restore blood supply to the brain in the shortest time or the consequences can be quite bad. Treatment for ischemic stroke starts with emergency treatment using medication. It must be noted that the sooner clot-busting drugs are given, the better it is. The main idea is treatment must be given as soon as possible so that the chance of survival is better. These drugs should be given within the first few hours.
tPA or Tissue Plasminogen Activator
tPA is usually given within the first 3 to 5 hours when the symptoms are identified. This is one of the most effective methods to treat patients with ischemic stroke. Typically, the intravenous injection is administered through a vein in the arm. Known also as an alteplase, it helps to restore blood flow through dissipating the blood clot. However, it must be noted that tPA might not be suitable for everyone because some patients might potentially experience bleeding the brain.
For the treatment of ischemic stroke, most situations might require the doctor to treat it directly at the blocked blood vessel which must take place very quickly. This include:
- Delivering tPA directly. This is done through intra-arterial thrombolysis. A catheter (long and thin tube) is inserted from the groin to the brain so that the tPa can be delivered to the brain.
- Stent retriever – A catheter is used to direct a device to the location of the blocked blood vessel in the brain. The objective is to trap the vessel and subsequently removing the clot. This procedure is administered if the clot is very large and cannot be dissipated using tPA.
Treatment for Hemorrhagic Stroke Patients
For the treatment of patients with hemorrhagic stroke, the treatment will involve controlling the bleeding internally. This is to reduce any pressure being inflicted on the brain which is causing the stroke. Surgery might be required to reduce the risk of future attacks and that is always a necessity at this stage. It must be regarded now that emergency measures need to be taken. Hemorrhagic stroke patients will be given drugs that might counteract the effects of blood-thinning medication. If the patient takes any form of anti-platelet drugs like Plavix (clopidogrel) or Cuomadin (warfarin), the doctor might give you some other form of medication to do this. Besides that, to lower the intracranial pressure (in the brain), certain drugs will be given as well. This will help to reduce your risk of vasospasm and seizures while helping to lower your blood pressure too.
The body will start absorbing the blood through some supportive medical care treatments. This can only take place after the bleeding stops in the brain. Although it is occurring internally, the healing process is quite the same as an external bruise or cut which takes time but does so very naturally. The doctor might need to perform a surgical procedure in order to remove the blood from the bleeding if the area is very big. This will help to relieve the pressure on the brain in the shortest time.
Repairing of the surgical blood vessel
Meanwhile, the doctor might need to carry out surgery to repair any abnormalities in the blood vessel after the repair. This is most common among hemorrhagic stroke patients where an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) or aneurysm is carried out. For this procedure that also includes other forms of vascular malformation as a result of the stroke, the following procedures might be administered:
- Coiling – Known also as endovascular embolization, the doctor (or surgeon) will put a catheter into the artery from the groin. It will then be guided to the brain through the use of X-ray imaging. What happens after that is that tiny detachable coils are used for the aneurysm coiling where they are filled to restrict any blood flow into the aneurysm.
- Surgical clipping – To stop blood flow to the aneurysm, a tine clamp is placed at the base there. This clamp is responsible to not only stop the blood flow but also to prevent bursting of the aneurysm as well. If there has been a recent case of hemorrhaging, it can also stop the occurrence to happen again.
- Surgical AVM removal – A smaller arteriovenous malformation or AVM might be removed by the surgeon if it is at the area of the brain which can be accessed. This will effectively cut out any risk of bursting or rupture. With this procedure, the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke is significantly reduced. However, if the AVM is too large or in a location that is hard to access, then the removal process cannot be carried out. This is because removing it might have negative effects on brain function.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery – Stereotactic Radiosurgery is required to repair any vascular malformations without needing any invasive treatment. This is where multiple beams of highly focused radiation rays are used.
Stroke is the top killer in many countries in the world. In fact, it is often closely associated with a heart attack which accumulatively forms the highest joint-killer among many other diseases that comes together. In Malaysia, it has caused more than 10,000 deaths each year alone which is about half of what is caused by coronary heart diseases. This is almost similar to other countries, especially in the United States, in many parts of Europe and Asia where the stroke is among the main health problems faced by the people there.
Over the years, Stroke has become one of the major causes of death in Malaysia. It could happen to anyone at any age. According to the National Stroke Association of Malaysia or Nasam, the youngest patient they ever recorded was 6 years of age. This is a very dangerous disease because many people are not aware that it is actually happening. As the brain receives 20% of the body’s blood for oxygen and nutrients, when the blood vessel is clogged, the brain stops receiving its supply and the effects could be immediate or gradual but it is very silent.
Timeline for stroke treatment
When the symptoms of stroke have been determined, then the emergency response team will send a CODE STROKE message to the medical center (or hospital). This must be done within the first few minutes because of every second count. After that, the ambulance will bring the patient to the hospital in the shortest time possible. In most cases, the ambulance will now the shortest route to the best possible treatment center. There are some places known as a stroke center and if that is further, the ambulance might even go there. This is because treatment has already started the moment they arrive.
Between picking up the patient and arriving at the medical center, the emergency room (ER) will start preparation. This is the very reason why you SHOULD NOT be bringing the patient to the hospital because the ER might not be ready and lined up when you arrive. With the CODE STROKE message, they can get the equipment and doctors ready. This includes all the specialists in stroke who can give the best attention and treatment possible to the patient. The idea is that once the patient arrives, they are ready and good to go!
At the hospital, the ER room is on standby and once the patient gets there, they get straight into the action. This is where the next 1 hour will be extremely crucial. In fact, it could very much determine the life and death of the patient. Basically:
- In the first 10 minutes – the doctor will carry out physical checks by determining if it is really a stroke. This is where the doctor might ask the patient about the history and symptoms. You might need to be involved as well.
- The first 15 minutes – The doctor will be carrying out certain tests to check on the severity of the attack. The doctor needs to ascertain if the patient knows that a stroke attack had just occurred. Meanwhile, there might also be some blood tests too.
- 25 minutes – At this stage, a CT scan will be carried out. This is to get an image of what stroke the patient is going through by looking at the image of the brain whether it is ischemic, hemorrhage or otherwise.
- 45 minutes – The doctor at this time will have to review the results of the CT scan to determine what the next course of action would be
After that, the doctor will very much know what to do and what treatment will be required for the patient. In most cases, a clot-busting drug will be used to treat people with an ischemic stroke which can be cleared within an hour. For those with hemorrhagic stroke, surgery will most likely be required.
Dietary Guide for Stroke Patients At Home
Stroke in Malaysia is one of the top killer-diseases together with cancer and heart attacks. It is most common among those who are over 65 years of age where the patient is often found to have increase malnutrition in the 2 weeks after treatment. When the patient returns home, the situation worsens and if the diet is properly taken care of, it could lead to more complications to health.
Dysphagia – This is a situation where the patient faces difficulty in swallowing food and drinks. Stroke patients have the highest percentage of experiencing this as a part of the body becomes temporarily or permanently paralyzed after suffering a stroke. As such, it could lead to reduced food intake, loss of appetite which will then lead to malnutrition that can obstruct the healing process.
For stroke patients who experience dysphagia, they can either practice oral food intake or feeding through an Enteral Feeding Tube.
Oral Food Intake – First, it should be determined which type of foods should be taken by the patient. This is usually done by the therapist or the doctor concerned. Then foods and drinks should be ‘processed’ before serving to the patient with this condition. This can be done by mincing them, grinding or pureeing the foods. Among the most common practices here is porridge with minced meat (chicken) or anchovies.
Enteral feeding tube – Known as the Ryles Tube, feeding through the enteral feeding tube can be practiced until the patient is able to swallow normally. This method should be practiced for those who are facing some extreme situations of dysphagia. Food intake using this method can only be done with proper consultation and help from hospital staff which will usually involve the type of food (usually in liquid form) that provides a balanced and complete source of nutrition and minerals needed for the healing process.
Suffering a stroke is a serious condition and even if it is a minor occurrence, you must consult your physician for treatment and recommendations for further observation. If the stroke is severe, you need to call the emergency number to be admitted to the hospital immediately. For minor strokes, your doctor will carry out preliminary tests to determine if you need further examination and observation. This is where you might be referred to a neurologist, basically a specialist who is trained in the treatment and management of stroke. The neurologist will ascertain the type of stroke you are suffering and if surgery will be required where you might be referred to a neurosurgeon.
Once it has been determined that you are suffering from stroke, the doctor will prescribe medications like anticoagulant or antiplatelet medicines. Basically, medication is used to prevent blood clots which are the main causes of strokes. As this disease’s initial cause comes from blood pressure, you might be given cholesterol-lowering or blood-pressure regulating medication as well.
Anticoagulant medication includes warfarin which is specially designed to prevent the forming of blood clots while aspiring and clopidogrel are antiplatelet medicines designed to keep apart platelets in the blood.
Strokes are fatal diseases and the symptoms can range from mild to very serious. In serious conditions, the symptoms are very sudden and can escalate very quickly. If you feel a sudden numb on your face or weakness on one part of your body, then it could be an early sign of an attack. This is where you must seek medical treatment immediately as it could very quickly result in paralysis on one side of your body. Other warning signs include face drooping, difficulty in breathing normally, difficulty in speech and normal talking and severe headache.
Top 5 Symptoms of Stroke that needs immediate attention
Regardless of what it might be, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to medical conditions such as stroke. Knowing the most common symptoms would be good but if you (or anyone you know) start experiencing any of the following, then it would be best to consult your doctor in the shortest time possible.
- Confusion with trying to get your speech right. At times you might have trouble even speaking or understanding what others are saying. Such occurrences might be new and you probably had not experienced it in the past before.
- Vision problems. You seemed to have blurry vision and this could happen to either one or both your eyes.
- Headaches. If you have a previous record of migraine, it feels different this time around which could be more severe or more frequent than before.
- Weakness in some parts of your body. This is most prominent around your face, around your arms and hands and your legs too. It is more serious if it is occurring on only one side of your body (most of the time on the left although it might happen on the right as well).
- Coordination problems. You seemed to have lost the ability to stay coordinated when you walk. You are losing balance most of the time due to dizziness or for no apparent reason at all. This is most prominent when you are walking.
Take note that all the top 5 symptoms listed above could be something that you have not experienced before. So if they occur either suddenly then it is a cause for concern. Another key point that must be taken into consideration is when they are severe. If they are minor, then you could just get it checked but if it is severe and the pain seemed unbearable, then you might be at risk of stroke.
If you have suffered a stroke and has been treated, you must change your lifestyle and dietary habits. This means you need to change your daily food intake, reducing sodium and salt that can spike your blood pressure. Your body must constantly stay hydrated where you must drink lots of water each day. Sugary beverages must be avoided at all times as it might detriment your condition further, leading to more health problems. Meanwhile, take garlic-related foods as it helps to reduce and regulate your blood pressure. Gingko Biloba is a type of traditional herb known for treating stroke conditions. It is available as a health supplement product which helps to prevent blood clots from forming.
Besides gingko bilboa, there are several other types of foods that might be adopted to help the stroke patient recover naturally. It must be noted that this must not be regarded as a replacement treatment for stroke patients. Such remedies should only be used as a complement to the other medications and diet of the stroke patient.
One of the most popular options among health-conscious people, green tea has been proven to contain flavonoids which can help to reduce blood pressure (and cholesterol along the way). It is recommended that a person with symptoms of a stroke should drink at least 3 cups of green tea per day. This should be the same practice for any adult. Meanwhile, the compounds found in the common black tea actually is similar to the insulin which means consuming black tea can help too.
The Pomegranate fruit
This fruit has very high levels of phytosterols and antioxidants which are instrumental in helping to moderate cholesterol levels which means it can help to reduce the blood pressure of the patient and subsequently reducing the risk of stroke tremendously.
One of the most prominent foods known to help prevent (and help) stroke is the yogurt. This is because yogurt is a probiotic food that can help to strengthen the gut-brain communication. When the gut’s health is improved, it will then have a direct impact on the brain. This means that you lower the risk of stroke a lot when your gut is performing well.
Taking prebiotic foods like yogurt is a good practice but this means that you will need to take foods that are prebiotic in nature like bananas. By taking both prebiotic and probiotic, the risk of stroke can then be reduced significantly. Prebiotics basically helps to grow good bacteria in your gut which will then directly impact your brain health. Besides bananas, other types of prebiotic foods include the artichoke, beans, garlic and onions.
It is very important to ensure that a stroke patient maintain good digestive health. This is where the patient should take foods that are rich in fiber like oatmeal. Oatmeal has been known to lower the cholesterol level of the patient and this is vital in the prevention of stroke among people. In taking fibrous food, the HDL (good cholesterol) is increasing while LDL (bad cholesterol) is reduced significantly. Besides oatmeal, fibrous foods include fruits, vegetables and beans.
Fatty Acid foods
A very popular food known to be rich in fatty acid is flaxseeds. The brain, which is made of 60% fat needs a significant amount of fatty acids in order to perform properly. Fatty acids can be easily found in omega-3 supplements. Besides that, you can get fatty acids from chia seeds, shrimps, Brussel sprouts, walnuts and salmon.
Resveratrol in red wine
Resveratrol is a natural stroke prevention agent. This antioxidant can be found in red grapes which lead to much research that found that drinking red wine actually helps in reducing the risk of stroke. It must be noted however that red wine is just a luxurious way for the body to receive resveratrol as you can just take red grapes as it is. The recommended dosage per day is one glass and that should be taken in moderation.
One of the best things about taking epicatechin is that it is available in dark chocolate. This means that it is one of the best foods that can be easily found (and enjoyed by most people) while reducing the risk of stroke. This was found in research in a top university that the antioxidant epicatechin can prevent stroke. And it is richly found in dark chocolates known to protect the brain cells. It is able to increase HDL cholesterol in the body while keeping the blood pressure low. Meanwhile, brain functions can be significantly improved as well.
This is one mineral that has many benefits. Vitamin D helps to prevent stroke while enhancing the body’s bones, brain and muscles. This is because Vitamin D has osteoprotective, neuroprotective and neuromuscular properties. Vitamin D can be easily found in common foods such as egg yolks, cheese, salmon and others.
Flavanol from Onions
Flavanol has been found to be one of the very powerful antioxidants. It is richly found in onions and many other types of greens. In fact, the research found that the reduction of risk of stroke can be as high as 20%. What makes onions a great food to take where it can reduce the risk of stroke while being fat-free and very low calorie. You can even use it to cook a dish and taken it together with a glass of red wine.
What to do when a stroke happens, and what to avoid?
A bit of first aid will surely help when you are in a situation involving stroke (either to yourself or to someone else). You must remember (and know) that stroke is a condition that has no time to wait. You CANNOT compromise time when it comes to stroke. Normal sickness is fine, but if you notice someone who is having a stroke, immediate attention will be required. In fact, a second too late might even be fatal.
This is simply because stroke occurs when the blood supply has been cut off to the brain which means it has been deprived off oxygen. The brain is in constant need of blood and oxygen supply all the time and if this is not possible, it will be damaged because the brain cells will die. After a long time, it will switch off totally. As such, it becomes vital (life and death) to take quick action and that is what the F.A.S.T system is all about. This is one that helps you spot a stroke so you know what to do.
- Face drooping – If a person is having difficulties breathing or is in a condition, check the face and see if one side is dropping. Ask the person to try and smile or move the face a bit. Do they feel any numbness at any part of the face and do they look unbalance?
- Arm – Check the arms and ask the person if there is a weakness on one side. Again, look for any signs of numbness by lifting the arms. If one of them falls or seemed to be weak, then it is a sign of stroke
- Speech – A person experiencing a stroke will not be able to say simple words. You can ask the person to just repeat after you to judge if the speech is slurred. Try something simple like ‘It is a hot day’ and if there seemed to be some slurring or trouble speaking, then it is time.
- Time to call – This is the last part that must be done straight away. If any of the F, A, and S is present, then call the doctor or the emergency number.
When you make the call, be sure to give accurate information such as how long the symptoms have been going on and what took place before that.
While waiting for medical help to arrive
This is extremely important! Once you have called for medical or emergency help, you need to accommodate the patient so that the situation would not worsen. First, you need to stay on the line with the medical help to ensure that they know what is going on. If that is not possible, then you need to attend to the stroke patient.
- If the patient is conscious, you need to have their head supported and raised slightly. Do not raise the head to high as it might stop more blood from flowing (or any chance). You must try to get them on their side.
- If the patient is unconscious, then it is very important that you check to see if the patient is breathing. Check the pulse on the wrist or the neck. This is the tricky part, if you need to do CPR to make sure the patient is breathing, then you need to do so. If you are trained, then you must carry it out methodically. If you are not trained in CPR, then you need to talk to the operator who will be able to guide you through it. DO NOT PANIC! You need to remain calm to save a person’s life.
- Ensure that the patient gets a lot of air and that nothing is going to restrict the breathing. Try to loosen up any tight clothing, ties, scarves or collars.
- Unlock the door. This is to ensure that you minimize any delay when the medical help arrives. The pathway between the ambulance and the patience should be kept as clear as possible
- Talk to the person and maintain your company. The idea is to keep the patient as relaxed as possible so that no panic attacks could happen. The patient can go into a panic attack in such a situation and that would only aggravate the situation. While you might be scared, the person experiencing it would feel at least 10 times worse. Hence, you need to be a steady one here. That will help a lot in such a situation.
Meanwhile, there are certain things that you MUST NOT do.
- Don’t try to get the patient to the hospital yourself (unless it is absolutely necessary and in certain situations). This is because it would take a longer time for the patient to be treated. When the medical help arrives, they will start treatment immediately which speeds up the entire process tremendously.
- Do not offer any form of medication to the patient unless you are a doctor and trained in this. The patient might be experiencing headaches but you would not want to give paracetamol or aspirin in any way.
- Do not offer anything to eat or drink to the patient. This is because you do not know if the patient might choke when swallowing. Just make sure that the patient is as comfortable as possible and that would be a great help already.
What to be aware of after leaving the hospital from a stroke treatment?
Arranging care before you leave the hospital after treatment for stroke must be done with careful consideration. This is because stroke patients need special care and attention in order to recover. Among the major considerations that must be weighed include:
- A nurse or medical expert who can take care of the patient. This could be a part-time or live-in nurse who is trained in taking care of a stroke patient.
- Renovation to the home toilet like a raised seat or additional support equipment
- Grab rails around the house
Meanwhile, it is extremely important to ensure that there are people in charge of taking care of the patient and a specific person who will be responsible for certain duties. This must cover areas such as:
- The doctor who will be needed when the patient is at home
- Nearest clinic or medical center (and must be informed)
- The person in charge of food
For the patient
If you are a stroke patient, there are certain issues that you need to be aware of. This include:
- Considering to take care of yourself in the most convenient way
- Try to be as independent as possible
- Know where to seek help when necessary
- Ensure that you have all the emergency contacts of your family members, friends and medical experts as and when you need them