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Stroke is the 2nd leading cause of disability worldwide. About 15 million people around the world suffer strokes every year and a third of them die as a result. As for the U.S, stroke is currently the 5th leading cause of death.
While the incidence of stroke is decreasing in the developed world, it is constantly on the rise in the developing countries. While only an estimate, stroke mortality will triple in the next two decades in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. People of all ages can be affected by stroke, but elderly individuals are at an increased risk.
12 Symptoms of a Stroke
The symptoms depend on the part of the brain affected by the restriction of blood supply. Here are some of the major symptoms of a stroke:
1. Pain on one side of the face
- Sudden and unexplained pain on one side of the face, chest, arm, or leg is not typical, but not uncommon either. It is worth noting that women are more prone to experiencing atypical stroke symptoms.
2. Blurry vision
- Blurred vision, inability to focus, sudden difficulty in seeing properly, and similar changes can indicate a stroke.
3. Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Generally, there is a significant difference between the stroke symptoms in women and women. Having difficulty breathing or swallowing are just a few examples. Other signs that typically affect women include irritation, nausea, vomiting, sudden pain, hiccups, seizures, and fainting.
- Hand tremors are quite uncommon but a proven symptom of cerebral infraction-obstruction of blood supply to the brain.
5. Loss of Balance
- Loss of balance, lack of coordination, and dizziness are very common symptoms of stroke and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
6. Difficult to walk
- Instability, trouble walking, and numbness/ tingling anywhere in the body can indicate a stroke.
7. Facial paralysis
- This is the most common stroke symptom, manifested by sudden weakness or paralysis of one side of the face, arm, or leg.
- “Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Similarly, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile,” notes the Mayo Clinic.
- A sudden, sharp, and debilitating headache, particularly in younger individuals, might indicate stroke. Women are more likely to experience this symptom compared to men.
- If you find yourself confused, disorientated, or unable to think normally out of the blue, it might be a sign of stroke.
- Dizziness and imbalance that come hand in hand with vertigo are often symptoms of stroke. Vertigo on its own is a matter of imbalance in the inner ear and can be treated effectively. As for brain stem stroke, the prognosis is as follows:
- “Dramatic recovery from a brain stem stroke is possible. Because brain stem strokes do not usually affect language ability, the patient is able to participate more fully in rehabilitation therapy. Most deficits are motor-related, not cognitive. Double vision and vertigo commonly resolve after several weeks of recovery in mild to moderate brain stem strokes.”
11. Trouble speaking
- Stroke often affects the area of the brain that is in charge for speech. Hence, slurred speech, inability to speak, or inability to understand speech are quite common when suffering a stroke.
- Women are likely to experience fatigue, confusion, and weakness at the moment of having a stroke.
To prevent stroke, consider these lifestyle changes:
- Give up smoking
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Maintain healthy blood pressure levels
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Keep a healthy weight