In Singapore, strokes rank first among adult disabilities and are the fourth most prevalent cause of death. And over 10% of deaths among us are caused by it as well. Considering these grim figures, stroke is curable and avoidable with adequate treatment. It may be possible to preserve life and prevent potential problems when a stroke strikes if one is aware of the symptoms and what to do in response. To lower our risk of stroke, we can adopt several different lifestyle improvements.
What Is a Stroke?
Generally, the blood supply to certain areas of our brain is usually restricted or halted during a stroke. It thus absolves our brain tissue of the oxygen and nutrition it needs to survive. Our brain’s functions are impaired within minutes when the cells begin to die. Immediate treatment is essential to lessen the effects of stroke symptoms. Ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes account for 98% of all cases of the disease in Singapore. A haemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel ruptures, resulting in bleeding in the brain, while an ischaemic stroke happens when a blood vessel obstruction restricts blood flow to the brain.
Although some risk factors for stroke, including age and family medical history, cannot be changed, numerous lifestyle factors may be altered to reduce the likelihood of having a stroke. To avoid further difficulties, we must recognize the stroke warning signs as soon as they appear and take the appropriate action to seek treatment.
Understanding The Different Types Of Stroke
Ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes make up 99.9% of all cases of the disease in Singapore. A transient ischemic attack, which causes a brief disruption in blood flow to the brain, can also occur in certain individuals.
The majority of stroke cases in Singapore (79.9%) are ischemic strokes, which are the most prevalent form. Whenever a blood vessel is blocked, the supply of blood to the brain is restricted, and this condition develops. Thrombosis or embolism are two conditions that can cause blood vessel blockages. Thrombosis happens when fatty deposits end up causing the blood vessels in our brain to constrict, causing a blockage. Embolization takes place when a clot travels through our arteries and lodges in the blood vessels throughout our brain.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs for roughly 20% of all diagnosed cases in Singapore and is brought on by a blood artery in the brain leaking or rupturing and resulting in brain bleeding. Aneurysms, protrusions at weak spots along the walls of blood vessels, protein deposits across vessel walls that cause blind points, poorly controlled hypertension, trauma, excessive use of blood thinners, and ischemic stroke that results in haemorrhage, and are common causes of blood vessel rupture.
Transient Ischemic Attack
Transient ischemic attack (TIA), commonly recognized as a ministroke, causes people to briefly experience the hallmarks of a full-blown stroke, and the effects may even just endure for five minutes. Identical to an ischemic stroke, TIA is brought on by blood artery obstruction, which lowers the amount of blood flowing to the brain. Although TIA typically has no lasting effects, it is a sign that we might be suffering from a partially obstructed or narrowed artery, which could raise our chance of stroke in the future.
Are You at Risk of a Stroke?
The danger of suffering from a stroke may be increased by specific medical problems and lifestyle choices. The risk of having a stroke grows as your risk factors increase. Many of these risk factors, referred to as preventable risk factors, are things we could voluntarily do to potentially avert a stroke.
Preventable Risk Factors
- Diabetes, excessive cholesterol, or hypertension
- Lifestyle elements such a poor diet, inactivity, obesity, smoking, usage of tobacco, and excessive alcohol consumption
- Atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heartbeat, and other blood and heart disorders
Non-Preventable Risk Factors
- Our arteries constrict and harden as we get older, which increases the risk of stroke.
- Family background
- Stroke risk can be increased by hereditary factors, including several rare genetic disorders
Signs of Stroke (BE FAST): 5 Things to Do When Someone Is Having a Stroke
There can be a wide range of symptoms depending on the kind of stroke and the area of the brain affected. The slogan BE FAST, which further acts as an indicator that time is of the essence when a stroke occurs, is a simple method to recall the basic symptoms of a stroke.
B- ALANCE: The stroke victim might feel lightheaded, trip over themselves, or lose their coordination.
E- YES: Strokes can cause double vision, darkened or blurred vision, and difficulty seeing in either one or both eyes.
F- ACE: Facial paralysis from a stroke may only affect one side of the face, which manifests as a noticeable drooping of the face.
A- RM: A stroke may manifest as stiffness or numbness in one arm if a patient cannot elevate that arm or if it slips downward due to arm weakness.
S- PEECH: Stroke patients may slur their words, appear confused, and have trouble speaking and speech difficulty.
T- IME: Certainly, while treating a stroke, timing is important. Each minute brings another loss of brain cells. If you notice any of the aforementioned signs, call 995 right away.
An abrupt, severe headache, nausea, and exhaustion can also be signs of a stroke. To understand further about stroke symptoms and how to assist someone who is experiencing a stroke, check our article.
Causes of Stroke: Know the Hidden Dangers
Numerous warning signs of stroke can raise our risk of having one. Most of them, like age and family background, cannot be changed, whilst others are lifestyle choices that we can make.
- Age: When our arteries get older, they gradually get more rigid and thin, which raises our risk of stroke.
- Family Medical History: Certain strokes may be brought on by inherited conditions that prevent the brain from receiving blood. Also, your risk of having a stroke may increase if a close family member has already suffered one.
- Weight: Getting overweight increases the chance of developing hypertension, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, which in turn increases the risk of stroke.
- Alcohol Consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can cause an irregular pulse, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, raising the risk of stroke.
- Usage of tobacco products: Smoking cigarettes, particularly secondhand smoke, can clog our primary neck artery with fat and thicken our blood, increasing the risk of blood clots.
- Existing Medical Illnesses: Stroke risk can be considerably increased by pre-existing medical issues.
- Hypertension: Once hypertension is not properly controlled, it puts additional strain on our hearts and blood vessels, increasing the risk of developing blood clots and blood channel narrowing.
- High Cholesterol: Excessive levels of cholesterol in the blood can cause fatty deposits to form on the inner walls of the arteries, raising the risk of an ischemic stroke.
- Stroke: Anyone who has previously experienced a stroke, a transient ischemic attack, or a heart attack is at an increased risk of having another one.
- Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can raise the risk of stroke by causing clots or fatty tissue to accumulate in the blood vessels.
- Cardiovascular diseases: Certain heart conditions, like coronary artery disease, can lead to plaque buildup in our vessels, which can lead to a blood clot that could escape and stop the blood from getting to our brains.
How To Prevent and Survive a Stroke?
Although some stroke risk indicators, like ageing and familial history, cannot be changed, there are numerous lifestyle choices we can undertake to greatly lower our risk.
Reduce blood pressure levels. Stroke is most commonly brought on by high blood pressure. To maintain your blood pressure in check and lower your risk of stroke, especially if you have hypertension, ensure you adhere to measures and a blood pressure reading should be taken at a minimum every three years for people with normal blood pressure.
Prevent smoking. Smoking harms our bodies and increases our risk of stroke, as is widely documented. If you smoke, seek help and stop immediately to lower your risk of stroke.
Consider your heart health. See your physician if you have a history of heart disease and heed their recommendations to maintain your health and reduce your likelihood of stroke.
Remain active. Individuals can lower their chance of getting health disorders including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol, as these are significant risk factors for stroke, through exercise. A quick 30-minute routine at home for a week can also be beneficial.
Reduce your alcohol consumption. Drink responsibly, or don’t at all. Women should limit their alcohol consumption to one drink per day, whereas men ought to limit themselves to up to two drinks per day to avoid any health issues brought on by excessive alcohol intake.
Eat a balanced diet. Increase your diet of fresh produce and limit salt and fats, which could also block your arteries and increase blood pressure. Having a nutritious diet can also help us lose weight, which lowers our risk of stroke.
Regulating your diabetes. If you are suffering from diabetes, regulate it with physical activity, a balanced diet, and any medicine your doctor prescribes.
Keep an eye on your cholesterol levels. Regular exercise and adherence to a balanced diet can lower your total cholesterol, but sometimes these measures may not be sufficient. In some cases, doctors will recommend medication to lower your cholesterol.
Take the prescribed medicines. If you already have a medical condition that puts you at risk for stroke, be careful to take your doctor’s orders and manage it. If you’ve already experienced a stroke, be mindful of taking any prescription your doctor recommends to stop it from happening again.
The bare minimum involves understanding the warning symptoms of a stroke and what to do about them. Now next move is going to be to help your elderly loved one rehabilitate from a stroke by either moving them to the best nursing home in Singapore or enlisting the help of elder care services in Singapore. Family involvement might go a great deal toward helping your family members recover independence and find self-confidence considering stroke recovery is indeed a slow process that may last from months to several years.