Important things you should know about stroke

stroke

o Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body

o Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

o Sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes

o Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

o Sudden severe headache with no known cause

D. How is it diagnosed?

o Neurological exam

o Neuropsychological evaluation, to examine how well the brain is working when it performs certain functions, such as remembering, problem solving, processing information. It is also used to document areas of weaknesses and strengths.

o Brain imaging tests (CT, or computerized tomography scan; MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging) to understand the type, location, and extent of the stroke

o Tests that show blood flow and bleeding sites (carotid and transcranial ultrasound and angiography)

o Blood tests for bleeding or clotting disorders

o EKG (electrocardiogram) or an ultrasound examination (echocardiogram) of the heart to identify cardiac sources of blood clots that could travel to the brain

II. IS STROKE PREVENTABLE?

The good news is, about 50% of all strokes can be prevented through medical attention and simple lifestyle changes.

A How can I personally prevent it? Some risk factors, such as age (stroke risk factors doubles with each decade past age 55), sex (males have slightly higher stroke risk, than females), race (African-Americans have double the stroke risk of most other racial groups), and a history of stroke in the family, cannot be changed. However, many others can be controlled. Most controllable factors relate to the health of the heart and blood vessels. Doing these things can help you prevent a stroke:

o Have regular medical check-ups

o Control high blood pressure

o Do not smoke- and stop if you do

o Treat heart disease, especially an irregular heart beat called “atrial fibrillation”

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