Each year, over 795,000 Americans have a stroke, with 610,000 new strokes. On average, one American dies of stroke every 4 minutes killing approximately, 130,000 each year. Stroke remains the third largest causes of death behind heart disorders and cancer.
Yesterday, the National Institutes of Health halted a study testing a rare condition called arteriovenous malformation (AVM) that can cause a stroke. Their study revealed that invasive therapies were riskier to the patient. This condition involves the growing and knotting of the veins causing a bleeding stroke.
Brain scans can spot these tangles before they’re at risk of bleeding. The study that was supposedly aimed at treatment could indeed prevent stroke. Early results suggest it may be safer to leave the condition alone, said Columbia University neurologist Dr. Jay Mohr, who helped lead the study. Mohr said, that the rate of strokes and death among participants who received surgery and radiations are three times greater than patients who were given medication for headaches and other symptoms.
Signs of stroke
The American Stroke Association says that numbness of the extremities, disorientation, and sudden imbalance are the three indications of a stroke. Lately, there has been a fourth indicator that can help anyone determine if someone is having a stroke – the tongue.
A recent study by Suzanne Judd, a researcher and nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Alabama, reveals that about two-thirds of the causes of stroke has to do with what people eat. Judd defined the South as the stroke belt due to their dependence on convenience food, high salt content, and high-fat foods. The other risk factors are smoking, sugary foods, and sedentary lifestyle. This study was presented to the International Stroke conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. Judd recommends those at risk, to stick to plant-based diet, which significantly reduced 20% of stroke risk.
Children and adolescent at risk
Children and adolescents are also at risk. According to the Child Neurology Society along with Committee on Stroke and Children, the number of younger people who become victims of stroke is growing. Study shows that children and adolescent victims of stroke represent different risk factors than their older counterparts. Child Neurologists admit that ruling out the real cause of stroke in children is very difficult. In a study by the Canadian, Pediatric Ischemic Stroke Registry, congenital heart diseases and sickle cell disease are common stroke causes. ICP or intracranial pressure is also one of the causes of stroke in children.
The treatment for stroke largely depends on whether you are having a hemorrhagic stroke that requires e
mergency treatment to control the pressure and bleeding in the brain or ischemic stroke that blocks an artery. A Neurologist may recommend surgery to prevent another attack. The emergency ischemic stroke treatment is meant to administer clot dissolving drugs or thrombolytics. The drug helps to restore the blood flow to the brain. This includes aspirin, and intravenous injection of tissue plasminogen activator. The blood-thinning drugs are vital emergency treatments within three or four hours of attack.
The Mayo Clinic recommends identifying the risk factors and lifestyle change to help prevent stroke. Controlling the blood pressure can also reduce the risk of ischemic attacks. Eating low sodium and fatty foods can help control elevated blood pressure. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding illicit drugs and smoking can altogether lower the risks. The Mayo clinic also recommends maintaining weight, as obesity is one of the risk factors. To isolate the risk of a stroke, consider preventative medications if you’ve had a prior attack.
Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas