Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stroke - An Overview

Stroke is the weakness of the limbs on one side of the body; either permanently or transiently often with associated loss or disturbance of speech. Stroke can be completed or evolving, major or minor. One in every four of those suffering from Stroke will die of it within five years. However, Stroke is uncommon before the age of 40 years.

Stroke occurs as a result of deprivation of blood supply to an area of the brain, for a period long enough to cause death (infraction) of brain tissues to that area (in which case the disability is permanent). Where the damage is to the brain tissue is not long enough to cause death (ischaemia), the damage is transient.

This deprivation of blood supply could be due to a blocked vessel supplying the affected part of the brain. This is the most common cause of Stroke responsible for about 80 percent of Stroke cases.

Stroke could occur also due to bleeding into the brain tissue. This accounts for 20 percent of all Stroke cases. Any health condition which could result in any of the above could cause Stroke. Such conditions include Hypertension (which is a major culprit), smoking, heart disease and diabetes.

Any animal fat-rich diet can predispose deposit of fatty plaques in the blood vessel which can cause narrowing. This is associated with hardening of the blood vessel which occurs with aging leading to condition called Arteriosclerosis.

Risk factors which can predispose one to developing Stroke include, a high consumption of alcohol, smoking, sedentary lifestyle and obesity. As has been said, about 40 percent of Stroke can be prevented.

The most important step towards preventing Stroke is to take care of your self. A regular check on blood pressure will help to identify hypertension early and this leads to early control. Low and or moderate alcohol consumption will reduce the risk of Stroke, so will a reduction in weight and cessation of smoking,

An active lifestyle has also been identified to reduce risk of developing Stroke. Regular exercise will help blood flow and weight control.

Treatment takes two forms: immediate treatment and stabilization and rehabilitation. The type of disability depends on the area and size of the brain affected.

While treatment is aimed at preventing further damage and deterioration, rehabilitation aims at helping the patient lead a relatively comfortable life even with the disability. It includes physiotherapy and the control of the cause of the Stroke.

By Noble Ihezie

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