What is a Stroke?
Can you tell if you're having a stroke? A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency and therefore prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can minimize damage and complications. The good news is that they can be treated and prevented.
How do you know if you or someone else may be having a stroke? You may have trouble walking, stumble, feel dizzy or lose balance or coordination. You may have trouble with speaking and understanding, slurring or an inability to find the right words to explain what you feel. You may experience sudden paralysis or numbness on one side of your body or face. See if you can raise and hold both arms above your head. You may have sudden blurred or blackened vision or may see double. You may have a sudden very severe headache.
Types of Strokes
The most common (90%) type of stroke is the ischemic stroke--caused by blockage in an artery. A ministroke--a transient ischemic attack (TIA)--is a brief episode of symptoms caused by a temporary blockage, and requires medical attention also. Strokes are more prevalent with a personal or family history of heart disease, being age 55 or older, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, being overweight or obese, binge drinking or cocaine and methamphetamine use. Emergency treatment is directed at restoring blood flow to the brain. Further measures can be undertaken to reduce the risk of further strokes. After that, care focuses on helping you regain your strength, recover as much function as possible and return to independent living.
Knowing your stroke risk factors, following your doctor's recommendations and adopting a healthy lifestyle are the best steps you can take to prevent a stroke.
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309