How to reduce stroke risk – age no bar
BENGALURU : The World Health Organization (WHO) holds stroke as the second leading factor responsible for mortality, and rise in the number of cases is alarming, more so in the younger generations.
Heart attack and stroke were more prevalent in the older population along with a history of cholesterol, smoking and diabetes. But in the recent past owing to the change in lifestyle, there has been a drastic change in the stroke age group landscape.
Those in the age group of 25-30 are more prone to stroke due to sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activities, and consumption of intoxicants. Stroke is a condition where the blood supply to the brain is restricted. Even if the stroke lasts for a second it affects the functioning of brain, thereby hampering normal functioning of the body. Blood supply to the brain is crucial as it carries oxygen and other vital constituents.
Three types of stroke
1. Ischemic Stroke: This type is most common. An ischemic stroke happens when the blood flow to the brain through the artery that supplies oxygen to the brain gets blocked. The main cause of ischemic stroke is the blood clots that cause blockages in the brain.
2. Hemorrhagic Stroke: In hemorrhagic stroke, the artery in the brain ruptures and leaks blood. Once the blood vessel in the brain is damaged, the brain gets flooded with blood damaging the brain cells.
3. Transient Ischemic Stroke: Also called ‘Mini-Stroke’. Unlike the other types, the blood flow to the brain in this type is blocked only for a short time. Usually, the blockage does not exceed five minutes.
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Stroke among young adults
There is no denying the fact that the risk of stroke increases with age. But it is no longer restricted to old age only. Stroke among the youngsters is turning out to be a major public health issue, the reason being that it is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. Due to lack of awareness, many young adults are unprepared when a stroke happens as they do not recognize its symptoms and get medical care in time.
– High Body Mass Index
– Rheumatic heart disease
– Having oral contraceptive pills increases the risk of stroke for women
– Blood disorders
Keeping strokes at bay
– Quit smoking.
– Try to reduce alcohol consumption and gradually say goodbye to it.
– Keep the blood pressure under control. Monitor your blood pressure regularly. If it is elevated, take measures and treatment to bring it down.
– Keep blood sugar levels in check.
– If you are obese, shed pounds. Aim to maintain ideal BMI.
– Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes. You can pursue any kind of physical activity like walking, jogging, yoga or aerobics. Include routines like using stairs, taking walks for grocery shopping, etc.
– Remember stroke acronym BE-FAST (Balance, Eyes, Face, Arm, Speech and Time) for quick medical attention.
By Dr. Vishakhadatta Mathur Kumaraswamy
The author is consultant – neurology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Sarjapur Road, Bangaluru