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Strokes can be serious medical emergencies that can result in disability or even death. May marks National Stroke Awareness Month and many experts are trying to raise awareness of this very serious crisis. The brain serves as a focal point of many of our bodily functions. Such as movements and retaining memories abstractions like thoughts, emotions, and language; as well as functions such as breathing and digestion.
Any lack of blood flow that occurs simply takes a matter of minutes for brain cells to die, the brain relies on Oxygen and without it, it is known as a stroke. On Sunday, Democrat Chris Van Hollen announced he suffered a mini-stroke. Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman also shared that he suffered a stroke on that exact day. Strokes are primarily comprised of two types ischemic and hemorrhagic, the vast majority of strokes fall into the ischemic. These occur when blood is blocked primarily by blood clots or even fatty deposits that serve as debris known as plaque, according to the CDC. “A heart attack is a heart attack, and a brain attack is a stroke,” said the director of clinical cardiology and cardiovascular prevention at National Jewish Health, Dr. Andrew Freeman.
At times blood can be trapped for only a short period of time known as a transient ischemic attack are also known as “mini-strokes”. Despite the name, these are also a medical emergency and serve as a future sign of future strokes. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a stroke most commonly include sudden to a serve headache, issues with vision, trouble with walking, paralysis or numbness on the face and or limbs, as well as trouble with speaking or the ability to understand others’ speech.
Quickly receiving care is key to treatment. The larger the stroke the more damage is far more likely to occur, and the consequences are much direr. Even where a stroke happens plays a role in recovery with the patient’s function to walk or talk. “If you can get to the hospital within a certain time period, you may be able to receive life-saving therapies like a clot-busting drug or a procedure to restore blood flow,” said Dr. Jinny Tavee, chief of the division of neurology and behavioral health at National Jewish Health. Prevention is key, factors like high blood pressure, one’s age, and a history of vascular health all serve a role in elevating risk.
Diabetes, alcohol intake, as well as smoking, can further increase your risk. Freedom recommends that there are at least six things into account when preventing a stroke. Quitting smoking is always key not only to stroke prevention but as well in overall health. Doctors recommend eating whole food on a low-fat diet.
Exercise is recommended for if deemed safe by a doctor 30 minutes a day to prevent the build-up plaque. Ultimately it comes down to support, Freeman said “I know that kind of sounds hokey in today’s day and age,” he added, “It turns out that the ones with the most loving, supportive, strong social networks … they actually end up with the least amount of cardiovascular disease.”
Written by Skye Leon
Edited by Sheena Robertson
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