Stroke is one of the most common chronic diseases that strike us when we are unaware. However, not many people are aware of the risk factors or might have misunderstood stroke as a type of heart disease. Here are ten misunderstood facts about stroke that you might not know about:
Stroke: Background Facts
Stroke only happens to older people
Stroke can happen to anyone at any age. It is true that the risk of stroke increases as we age because the arteries in our bloodstream hardens and becomes narrow as we grow older. However, according to the National Registry of Disease Office (2016), there is an increasing prevalence of people under the age of 65 suffering from a stroke. Our sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. All of these chronic diseases are risk factors of stroke.
2. Stroke is not preventable
Stroke IS preventable! Even though there are some non-preventable risk factors – like genetics and age. However, you still have control and lower the chances of having a stroke. The risk factors for strokes include hypertension, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Many strokes happened because of unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles – this includes an unhealthy diet, lack of physical exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol intake and obesity.
3. “I am skinny. I have lower chances of getting a stroke.”
False. If you have been leading an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle, you will have a higher chance of having a stroke. It is important to eat healthily and aim to have a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise every week.
4. Stroke is uncommon
Stroke is has become more prevalent – according to the National Registry of Disease Office (2016), stroke is the 9th most common condition in hospital admission and the 4th leading cause of death in Singapore. The number of people having stroke have also increase over the years – thus it is important to lead a healthy and active lifestyle to lower the risk of a stroke.
5. Stroke is a type of heart disease
False. A stroke happens when the blood supply in the brain is restricted and blocked or a blood vessel in the brain has burst. It is essentially a brain attack.
Stroke: What to do when a stroke happens?
6. If a stroke happens – visit a General Practitioner or a Family Doctor
Do not visit a GP or a family doctor. When a stroke happens, call for an emergency ambulance and ensure that your loved one is transported to the emergency department of the nearest hospital ASAP.
7. “It’s a false alarm!” When stroke symptoms happen, you don’t have to see a doctor.
When you experience a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or a mini-stroke, you still have to visit a doctor. Usually the risk of a stroke increases after experiencing a mini-stroke.
Numbness on one side of your face, arm or leg.
Temporary vision loss in one eye
Not able to process your surroundings
Stroke: Recovery Phase
8. You can never recover from a stroke.
False. You can recover from a stroke – many patients who are treated fast and quick enough are able to recover.
Use can use F.A.S.T to determine the warning signs of stroke:
F – Face (Ask the person to smile)
A – Arms (Ask the person to raise both hands)
S – Speech (Ask the person to repeat after you – check if the speech is slurred)
T – Time (Call the ambulance IMMEDIATELY, if the person is unable to do these simple actions)
9. You can recover fast from a stroke
This depends on how fast the stroke was spotted and treated. Sometimes recovery can span to 2 years. Stroke patients can benefit from physiotherapy and occupational therapy after the stroke occurs.
10. After you recover from a stroke, it will not happen again.
False. If you have recovered from a stroke, you are at higher risk of having another stroke if you continue to lead an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle. Ask advice from your doctor on how to prevent another stroke from happening.
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