Table of Contents
The common causes of stroke in young people are the same as those of older people; high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease are the most frequent causes of stroke for everyone. There are many rare causes of stroke beside these. The chances of recurring stroke can be minimized so we should all know more about it.
The Stroke Association
Every year, over 130,000 people only in the UK have a stroke – one person every five minutes. Most people affected are over 65, but anyone can have a stroke, including young people, children, and even babies. A stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK, and it is the single most common cause of severe disability as well. More than 250,000 people live with disabilities caused by stroke. Because this could happen to you, or someone you care for, you will want to learn as much as you can about stroke, what causes it, the effects that it can have, how it can be prevented and treated. It is also important how the Stroke Association can help you should a stroke affect your life. The Stroke Association’s focus is to prevent strokes and to provide support for people who have had a stroke. They also provide support to patient’s families through information and community services.
Important tips about stroke
- Every five minutes one person in the UK has a stroke.
- A stroke is a brain seizure that occurs due to a clot or bleeding in the brain, which causes brain cells to die.
The signs of a stroke are:
- facial weakness
- arm or leg weakness
- speech problems
- a loss of half the visual field
These signs may only last a few hours, which is called a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA. This sign of stroke must not be ignored.
- A stroke is an emergency, so if you see the signs of a stroke act quickly and call emergency number.
- Early treatment saves lives and increases the chance of making a better recovery after stroke happens.
- Stroke is the third biggest killer and the leading cause of severe disability in the UK; the situation is similar throughout the world.
- Almost one in four men and one in five women aged 45 can expect to have a stroke if they live to 85 years.
- More than three times as many women die from stroke than breast cancer.
- Unacceptable inadequacies in stroke care and research exist, so for every £50 spent on cancer research and £20 on heart disease research, only £1 is spent on stroke research.
- Eating healthily, exercising, not smoking, and ensuring normal blood pressure can help prevent a stroke.
- The Stroke Association is the only national charity in the UK solely concerned with helping everyone affected by this problem. We all need to work to create a world where there are fewer strokes and all those touched by stroke get the help they need.
Types of stroke
The most common type of stroke is a blockage, called an ischemic stroke. It happens when a clot blocks an artery that carries blood to the brain. That type of stroke may be caused by cerebral thrombosis. In this case a blood clot known as thrombus forms in a main artery of the brain. It could also happen if a cerebral embolism, a blockage caused by a blood clot, air bubble or fat globule or embolism, forms in a blood vessel somewhere else in the body and is then carried through the bloodstream and into the brain. Finally, the cause could also be a blockage in the tiny blood vessels deep within the brain, called lacunar stroke.
The second type of stroke is a bleed, occurring when a blood vessel bursts, causing a hemorrhage inside the brain. This is a hemorrhagic stroke. It may be caused by intracerebral hemorrhaging, when a blood vessel bursts within the brain or a subarachnoid hemorrhage, when a blood vessel on the surface of the brain bleeds into the area between the brain and the skull in subarachnoid space.
Common symptoms of stroke
The first signs that someone has had a stroke are very sudden; typical symptoms include numbness, weakness, or paralysis in one side of the body. Signs of this may be a drooping arm, leg, or lower eyelid, or a dribbling mouth, slurred speech or difficulty finding words or understanding speech. Some patients reported suddenly blurred vision or loss of sight, confusion, or unsteadiness and severe headache.
Face-Arm-Speech test or FAST is three simple checks that can help you recognize whether someone has had a stroke or mini-stroke, or transient ischemic attack known as TIA.
- F - Facial weakness test means you should check if the person can smile and has a drooped mouth or eye.
- A - Arm weakness; check if the person can raise both arms.
- S - Speech problems; check if the person can speak clearly and understand what you’re saying.
- T - means you should test for all three previously listed signs.
Since stroke can happen to anyone we should all be aware of these symptoms and know how to recognize if someone around us has this problem. A stroke can happen with no obvious cause, to people of any age. However, there are factors known to increase the likelihood of it happening. Some of these factors cannot be changed, but some other risks may be reduced by lifestyle changes or medication. What you cannot change is gender, since in the under 75’s age group, more men have strokes than women. You cannot change your age, either; strokes are more common in people over 55, and the risk continues to rise with age. Arteries commonly harden with time and become coated by a build-up of cholesterol and other debris. This causes atherosclerosis over many years. Family history is also something you cannot change. Having a close relative who has had a stroke increases the risk, possibly because conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes tend to run in families, so these people are prone to have a stroke or a similar problem as well. Ethnic background is also important, since people from Asian, African and African-Caribbean communities are at greater risk of a stroke. Medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are more common in some races as well.