Page 21 - 2018 Senior Scene Magazine February
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How serious is a stroke?
“February is American Heart Month”
Dr. Arvind M. Dhople, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Florida Tech
A stroke is serious, just like a heart attack. Each year
in the United States, approximately 800,000 people have
a stroke. About 620,000 of these are  rst or new strokes. On average, one American dies from stroke every four min- ute. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., and causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65.
A stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack”. Most often, stroke occurs when blood  ow to the brain stops because it is blocked by a clot. When this happens, the brain cells in the immediate area begin to die. Some brain cells die because they stop getting the oxygen and nutri- ents they need to function. Other brain cells die because they are damaged by sudden bleeding into or around the brain.
There are two kinds of strokes. The most common kind of stroke is called ischemic stroke. It accounts for ap- proximately 80 per cent of all strokes. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. The other kind of stroke is called hemorrhagic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel that breaks and bleeds into the brain.
There are many effects of a stroke. The brain is the most complex organ in the body. It is the seat of intelli- gence, interpreter of the senses, and initiator of all move- ment. And the controller of behavior. How a stroke affects us depends on which part of the brain is damaged. Stroke
Senior Scene® | February Issue
damage in the brain can affect the entire body – result- ing in mild to severe disabilities. These include paralysis, problems with thinking, trouble speaking, emotional prob- lems, and pain.
Warning signs are clues your body sends to tell you that your brain is not receiving enough oxygen. The com- mon signs of stroke are: sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; sud- den confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walk- ing, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and, sudden severe headache with known cause.
Some of these risk factors for stroke cannot be changed by medical treatment or lifestyle changes: Age: Although stroke risk increases with age, stroke can occur at any age. Experts speculate the increase may be due to a rise in risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, and high cho- lesterol; Gender: Men have a higher risk for stroke, but more women die from stroke; Race: People from certain ethnic groups have a higher risk of stroke; Family history
of stroke: Several factors may contribute to familiar stroke – members of a family might have a genetic tendency for stroke risk factors, such as an inherited predisposition for high blood pressure or diabetes, and common lifestyle.
Stroke is preventable and treatable. A better un- derstanding of the causes of stroke has helped people make lifestyle changes that have cut the stroke death rate nearly in half in the last two decades. Stroke is a medical emergency. Every minute counts when someone is having a stroke. The longer blood  ow cut off to the brain, the greater the damage. Immediate treatment can save peo- ple’s lives and enhance their chances for successful recov- ery.
STROKE continued on pg 40
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