A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes.
According to The American Stroke Association (ASA) stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Stroke mortality rates among women are slightly higher (60%) than among men (40%). Despite its position as one of the leading causes of death, stroke mortality rates have actually declined since the year 2000, falling from 60 per every 100,000 instances of stroke in 2000 to a mortality rate of 40 for every 100,000 stroke victims in 2010.
People most at risk for stroke are older adults, particularly those with high blood pressure, who are sedentary, overweight, smoke, or have diabetes. Incidence rises exponentially with age and majority of them occur in persons older than 65 years.
Stroke is prevalent in elderly individuals, with 66% of hospitalized cases being people over the age of 65. Many stroke survivors are able to recover functional independence over time, but 25% are left with a minor disability and 40% experience moderate-to-severe disabilities.
According to the American Stroke Association, signs of stroke in elderly adults include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or trouble understanding.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, and loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
Women have different stroke symptoms, and they also have a higher rate of fatality when it comes to strokes. 60% of women will die from stroke compared to 40% of men. Stroke kills up to twice as many women per year as breast cancer. Below is a list of symptoms that women should look out for in addition to the list above:
Sudden general weakness.
Sudden chest pain.
Sudden shortness of breath.
When should you see a doctor?
There is a simple and great way to remember the signs of a stroke. Remember the acronym FAST:
F(ace). Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A(rms). Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Or is one arm unable to rise?
S(peech). Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?
T(ime). If you observe any of these signs, call 911 or emergency medical help immediately.
There are various types of strokes that affect patients in different ways. Here are a few of the different types:
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
The process of ischemia involves the blood clotting in a dangerous way that blocks arteries and halts the flow of blood to the vital organs. These strokes can be a result of fatty buildup and cholesterol in the blood vessels.
Whereas, hemorrhagic strokes are caused by the sudden and violent breaking of a blood vessel in the brain, called a hemorrhage. High blood pressure and aneurysms (weak spots on blood vessel walls) are among some of the known causes of this type of stroke.
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) — sometimes known as a ministroke — is a temporary period of symptoms similar to those you’d have in a stroke. A TIA doesn’t cause permanent damage. They’re caused by a temporary decrease in blood supply to part of your brain, which may last as little as five minutes.
An Ischemic stroke has a much higher survival rate when compared to hemorrhagic stroke. However, elderly patients who have had hemorrhagic stroke and survived have a much higher rate of regaining normal functions.
As they say, “Prevention is better than cure”. You can prevent a stroke by adopting some of the following attitudes:
Controlling high blood pressure (hypertension).
Lowering the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet.
Quitting tobacco use.
Maintaining a healthy weight.
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all.
Treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Avoiding illegal drugs.
If you are facing any health-related issues or need any assistance you can always contact Kandakacare. Our professional healthcare workers are fully qualified to assist you at home without risking your health.
We publish new and useful articles every week containing highly useful information about elderly and how to make their lives easier and healthier. If you have an elderly person at home, we advise you to follow our weekly articles on our Kandakacare page and also share with your friends.
The American Stroke Association
What is a Stroke, types of strokes, risk factors and prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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