Keep your brain alive and ticking

Keep your brain alive and ticking


Keep your brain alive and ticking

REDUCE THE RISK The effects of a stroke depend on the area of the brain that is affected and the extent of damage done.Gone are the days when a stroke was an affliction of the elderly or of people with high blood pressure and a history of heart disease. There is now an increasing number of youngsters who are being hospitalised with signs of impending brain attack or having already suffered one.

Stroke, also called ‘brain attack’, happens when the arteries supplying blood to the brain get blocked. The other type of stroke, known as ‘haemorrhagic stroke’, happens when the brain artery ruptures. Due to blockage, the brain does not receive oxygen and the cells begin to die.

A stroke can cause paralysis and affect the victim’s ability to comprehend or speak, depending on the area of the brain that is affected. Stroke symptoms typically start without warning — over seconds to minutes — and, in most cases, do not progress further.

A stroke is considered a medical emergency because brain cells begin to die fast and regeneration is not possible. Treatment is most effective when administered immediately. Almost 50 per  cent of cases show no symptoms prior to a stroke. But immediate action can improve the odds of survival and restore normalcy.

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability. It has been found to cause 1.2 per cent of the total deaths in India.

Needless to say, the risk of suffering a brain attack can be greatly reduced by following a healthy lifestyle.

Dangers wrought by stroke

*Temporary or permanent impairment of body functions, including weakness
*Improper body balance
*Difficulties with speech and memory, and motor skills
*Problems with vision
*Trouble swallowing
*Distorted memory
*Chronic fatigue

Risk factors

*High blood pressure
*High cholesterol
*Heart disease
*Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)

Signs to watch out for

The best outcome can be achieved only through a timely response to warning signs. The symptoms include:

*Sudden weakness or numbness of face, arm, or leg
*Sudden difficulty with speech and comprehension
*Sudden problems with vision — dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye
*Sudden and severe headache with no known cause
*Dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance and co-ordination

The less common symptoms are sudden nausea, vomiting, brief loss of consciousness, or decreased consciousness, such as fainting and convulsions.

The effects of a stroke depend on the area of the brain that is affected and the extent of damage done. A blood clot on the right side of the brain will limit functions on the left side of the body and vice versa.

What you can do to stay safe

*Control blood pressure: Have your blood pressure checked once a month, and, if needed, take measures to lower it. Lowering high blood pressure can drastically reduce the risk for both stroke and heart disease.

*Stop smoking: Smoking has been linked to increased risk. Research indicates that the risk of stroke for people who have quit smoking for 2-5 years is lower than chain smokers.

*Exercise regularly: Common sense dictates that moderate exercise makes the heart stronger and improves circulation. It also helps control weight. Obesity increases the chance of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart diseases etc. Moderate physical activities like walking, cycling, yoga and swimming lower the risk of both stroke and heart disease.

*Eat healthy: Enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables.
*Diabetes control: If left untreated, diabetes can damage the blood vessels and lead to atherosclerosis.