A brain stroke
may affect only one family member, but it disrupts the entire family. Life
after a stroke is difficult, especially since the disability can last for a
lifetime. Stroke results in loss of productivity, necessitates a caregiver
for the patient, and has a huge economic impact on the family, the society and the state as well. Most of us
think that stroke
is something that will not affect us. However, statistics are quite alarming. According to the World Stroke Organization, every six seconds, one person in the world is disabled due to stroke, and
one person dies of stroke
. That one person could be anyone!!
‘Focus of World Stroke Day 2015 is on women as they are at a higher risk of stroke then men and are more likely to die of it. To recognize stroke early follow the acronym FAST’
What Causes a Stroke?
Not all strokes
are of the same type. Some are caused by a bleed in the brain, which may be due
to very high blood pressure. Others are caused by a clot, which may obstruct
blood flow, therefore depriving part of the brain
of an adequate supply of oxygen and glucose, leading to death of the localized part. It is important to differentiate between the types of
stroke, since the treatment varies. However, despite treatment, many people may
not achieve full recovery.
World Stroke Day 2015: I am Woman
The World Stroke
Campaign is organized by the World Stroke Organization. It focuses on the risk
of stroke in women with the theme: I am Woman
The campaign is
a reminder that women are more likely to suffer from stroke
and are also more likely to die from it. One in five women are at a risk of suffering from stroke, while one in six men suffer from
the same risk. Factors that make a woman prone to stroke include:
- Conditions appearing during pregnancy like diabetes and
- Preeclampsia is a condition where the woman suffers from high
blood pressure and loss of protein in the urine
- Use of oral contraceptive pills or hormonal replacement
therapy, which increase the chances of clot formation
- Hormonal changes; postmenopausal women are more likely to be at
a risk for stroke
- Presence of diseases like high blood pressure, atrial
fibrillation (where the heart rate is irregular), diabetes, depression,
and obesity, which are more common in women as compared to men
Women are also
indirectly affected by stroke that strikes the men of the family. They often have to take up the role of caregivers
and sometimes support the family financially as well.
Prevention of Stroke -
Preventing a stroke
is not very difficult.
A regular check-up can identify risk factors, which can be treated well before
they cause stroke. The physician should be specifically asked to evaluate your risk for stroke
, so that medications to prevent it can be taken early. In addition, simple lifestyle changes can help
to keep stroke at bay
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise can be as simple as brisk walking
for 20 to 30 minutes a day.
- Keep your weight under control. Women have a tendency to gain
weight easily, which is very difficult to lose.
- Smoking and alcohol should be avoided.
- Reduce your stress levels. Spend some time every day in
activities that you enjoy doing.
Following these simple guidelines will
prevent not only stroke but several other problems like diabetes, heart disease
and other health related problems.
Though the theme
for the World Stroke Day is focused on women, it should be remembered that men
are also affected by stroke. Preventive measures should also be adopted by men,
who are often the breadwinners of the family.
Recognizing a Stroke FAST
If a stroke is
recognized and treated immediately, chances of brain damage will be minimal. There is an acronym FAST that helps to
recognize signs of an evolving stroke and reminds to call for immediate help.
- drooping of one
side of the face is noted
- On raising the
arms, one side appears weak
- Speech is
affected and often appears as slurred or the words are jumbled
- Time is
precious. Contact emergency services immediately
A song based on
these signs is also available on the American Stroke Association website. After
all, singing is an effective way of conveying a message.
are being organized all over the world to increase awareness about stroke.
You could do
your bit by increasing awareness among social networking sites. Understanding
the facts regarding stroke
can result in a better and longer life for several people.