Stroke can be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain (called an ischemic stroke) or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain (called a hemorrhagic stroke). A TIA (transient ischemic attack), or "mini stroke", is caused by a temporary clot.
Worldwide, cerebrovascular accidents (stroke) are the second leading cause of death and the third leading cause of disability.
Stroke, the sudden death of some brain cells due to lack of oxygen when the blood flow to the brain is lost by blockage or rupture of an artery to the brain, is also a leading cause of dementia and depression.
Globally, 70% of strokes and 87% of both stroke-related deaths and disability-adjusted life years occur in low- and middle-income countries. Over the last four decades, the stroke incidence in low- and middle-income countries has more than doubled. During these decades stroke incidence has declined by 42% in high-income countries.
On average, stroke occurs 15 years earlier in – and causes more deaths of – people living in low- and middle-income countries, when compared to those in high-income countries. Strokes mainly affect individuals at the peak of their productive life.
World Stroke Day is observed on October 29 to underscore the serious nature and high rates of stroke, raise awareness of the prevention and treatment of the condition, and ensure better care and support for survivors. On this day, organizations around the world have facilitated events emphasizing education, testing, and initiatives to improve the damaging effects of stroke worldwide. The annual event was started in 2006 by the World Stroke Organization (WSO) and the WSO declared stroke a public health emergency in 2010. The WSO now has an ongoing campaign that serves as a year-round interface for advocacy, policy, and outreach to support strides and continue progress made on World Stroke Day.
The risk factors for stroke are similar to those for coronary heart disease and other vascular diseases. Effective prevention strategies include targeting the key modifiable factors: hypertension, elevated lipids and diabetes. Risks due to lifestyle factors can also be addressed: smoking, low physical activity levels, unhealthy diet and abdominal obesity.
The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions. If a stroke occurs and blood flow can’t reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won’t work as it should.
By knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, you can take quick action and perhaps save a life—maybe even your own.
Signs of Stroke in Men and Women: Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech; Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination; Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Remember: during a stroke, every minute counts! Fast treatment can lessen the brain damage that stroke can cause.
Call ambulance right away if you or someone else has any of these symptoms.
Source: who.int | wikipedia.org | strokeassociation.org | cdc.gov