Among patients with heart diseases and cancer, stroke is a relatively new and high-profile problem. Around the globe, it is the third most common cause of death in people aged 65 and above, and the number one cause of disability in most adults. Stroke claims 5.8 million lives yearly, winning this chase against AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Twice as many women die of stroke than breast cancer. A prompt call to emergency medical services can significantly increase the chances of survival and improve the recovery rate.
WHO has termed stroke as the ‘epidemic of the 21st century. To cope with the morbidity and mortality rates, widespread education programs are held to enable the general public to observe high-risk individuals and recognize the early symptoms in case of a cerebrovascular attack. A prompt call to emergency medical services can significantly increase the chances of survival and improve the recovery rate. Sound knowledge of stroke, its symptoms, and critical management can, therefore, be life-saving.
1What Is A Stroke?
A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident, is a medical emergency that needs critical and urgent medical attention.  It is a condition characterized by sudden onset of impaired perception and loss of control over normal voluntary actions, owing to the brain’s retarded administration of these actions. The brain, being the center of control of all the muscles of the body, requires a continuous and uninterrupted supply of oxygen and nutrients to remain alive. This supply is delivered via an intricate network of blood vessels. A disruption in the blood flow to or within the brain, which can be in the form of a blood vessel obstruction, or rupture can cause the cells to starve and ultimately brain tissue death. The collapse of the specific area in the brain results in incoordination of associated functions. It mostly manifests as abnormality in speech, gait, and sensory perception and in some cases may lead to paralysis or long-term disabilities affecting certain parts of the body.
Stroke damages the brain tissue in the same way, heart attack damages the heart. The brain is a complex organ made up of cells called neurons. These neurons have little regenerative capacity and absolute requirement for oxygen and nutrition. 4-6minutes without oxygen are enough for permanent brain damage to occur. The inactivity of the cells collapses all the impulse control of relevant muscle groups. Stroke and heart attack may have an underlying similar cause, such as blood coagulation into clots. Both, however, have different presentations.
Most of the stroke cases have been reported in the early morning time. The symptoms set in, in an unanticipated event. Incidence of stroke increases with age. About 70% of all strokes occur in people aged 65 and above. However, this data is liable to change. As the average lifespan increases with modern medical techniques, more stroke cases are likely to come up. An increase in smoking practice and lifestyle modification has put a lot of young people at risk too. Thanks to medical advancements, stroke risk factors have been identified and a proper health plan can effectively reduce the chances of stroke or its severity.