Stroke

What Are the Symptoms of Stroke?

As the name suggests, stroke is like a bolt of lightening, and can bring on sudden death. Symptoms include weakness or paralysis down one side of the body (face, arms or legs), numbness or loss of sensation in the face or limbs, and loss of bladder control, speech or vision. Other symptoms can include weakness, difficulty swallowing, face drooping to one side, dizziness, loss of balance, severe headache, difficulty speaking or understanding simple statements, and loss of vision, especially in one eye. There is potential for a certain amount of recovery in the first few weeks after a stroke, which is why expert rehabilitation with a range of different health professionals is so important.

What Type of Man Is at Risk of Stroke?

  • Older men – two-thirds of strokes occur in people aged over 65.
  • Those with a history of heart disease, previous stroke or mini-stroke
  • Men with risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of exercise, smokers and heavy drinkers
  • Those with an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation, which increases the chances of clots in the system
  • Men with a high red blood cell count, as thicker blood is more likely to clot
  • Men with a family history of stroke Prevention of Stroke
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Just like heart disease, you can reduce your chances of getting a stroke by making certain changes in your lifestyle, especially by not smoking and controlling high blood pressure. If you have high cholesterol, lowering your cholesterol levels may also reduce your risk. Your doctor may tell you to change your lifestyle as well as prescribing medication to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol. Aspirin or warfarin is often used to prevent clotting and reduce the risk of stroke.

Mini-Strokes

These are also known as transient ischemic attacks or TIAs, brought on when an artery in the brain becomes temporarily blocked. This can cause symptoms similar to a stroke but the symptoms disappear without any permanent damage within 24 hours. This is the key difference between a TIA and a stroke. However a TIA is a warning sign that you are at much greater risk of a stroke in the future. Therefore it is an early warning sign that you need to sit up and take notice of your health, and work with your doctor to do all that can be done to prevent a stroke later on.

Key Points

  • Heart disease Canadian HealthCare Mall and stroke are the number one causes of death and premature illness in Irish men.
  • High blood pressure is very common in Irish men and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • High blood pressure often has no symptoms; it is ‘the silent killer’.
  • Atherosclerosis is a disease process that damages the circulation and can affect the heart, brain, aorta and legs, causing heart disease, stroke, aneurysms and blocked arteries.
  • We can’t change our genes but many of the risk factors for atherosclerosis can be controlled – these include cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, stress, obesity and lack of exercise.
  • Know your numbers – you should get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly.
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol and many of the risk factors for heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis can be very successfully treated, but only if you are aware that you have them.
  • Prevention is better than cure.
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