WHAT IS THE SIMPLE METHOD THAT CAN REDUCE YOUR RISK OF STROKE?
The condition colloquially known as “stroke” is a disease with a high risk of injury and death. In fact, this condition takes third place in causes of death in developed countries, after heart disease and cancer. Every year, 15 million people have a stroke throughout the world and while one out of three die, one out of three end up needing constant care or help. Whilst the risk increases by double every 10 years after age 55, the stroke can occur at any age. When strokes are not treated in time, they can cause permanent damage in the brain while they are actually treatable in the early stages and even preventable. Acibadem Fulya Hospital Neurology Specialist Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya explained that a major portion of stroke incidents, around 80 percent, could be prevented with lifestyle precautions and said; “Regular walks, in particular, are as effective as ‘medicine’ in preventing strokes”.
Permanent brain damage can occur
Strokes occur when one or more areas in the brain are damaged due to a suddenly developing nutrition disorder and there is a permanent loss of nerve cells called neurons. This nutritional deficiency in the brain causes the vein that is feeding a certain area to become clogged suddenly by a clot causing the vein to close or tear due to atherosclerosis developing in the wall of the vein, thereby causing hemorrhaging in the area. Neurology Specialist Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya explained that permanent damage occurs in the brain because the capacity of damaged nerves to regenerate is very low.
The condition can emerge with a variety of symptoms
The damage that occurs in the body emerges with a variety of symptoms, depending on what part of the brain the stroke develops. Damage can occur in a number of different bodily functions in the patient like speech, walking, sensory, comprehension, balance, swallowing, vision, respiration, bladder and digestion. Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya pointed out that stroke or sensory deterioration in half of the body is generally the most significant clinical sign of stroke, and added “If these symptoms last for more than 24 hours this is classified as a ‘stroke”.
The preliminary symptoms should not be taken lightly
Stroke symptoms (numbness and/or weakness in one half of the body, speech disorder and vision disorder) lasting less than 24 hours and then improving are called “temporary ischemic attacks”. This can be the precursor to a stroke. For example speech disorder lasting 1 hour shows that there is a problem in nutrition reaching the speech center of the brain. In fact the risk of people who have undergone a temporary ischemic attack, having a stroke increases by 10 times. Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya explained that the symptoms going away do not mean that the problem has disappeared and warned that a doctor should be seen immediately. She said “Fast research and treatment towards the cause can protect the person from permanent damage. If this condition is not taken seriously, permanent damage may occur.”
30 minutes of walking can prevent stroke
Although stroke can lead to serious complications it can be treated when caught early and it can even be prevented if caution is applied to habits in lifestyles. “For example medium impact exercise reduces stroke by 25 percent”. Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya continued as follows; ”Studies have shown that 30 minutes of regular medium impact walks or exercise can be as effective as medical treatment in preventing stroke. This is why regular walks are critical against the risk of stroke. Also eating a diet focusing on vegetables and fruit is an important factor in preventing strokes”.
Beware of illnesses and bad habits!
The stroke risk factors are divided into two categories, of those that can be changed and those that cannot. Neurology Specialist Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya said that advancing age is the most important risk factor that cannot be changed. Also there are genetic factors (a history of vascular diseases in the family), gender, previous stroke, temporary ischemic attack or heart attack and other important risk factors that cannot be changed. High blood pressure is at the top of risk factors that can be changed. Atrial fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia that is very common, other heart diseases, high cholesterol, diabetes, migraines, smoking, restricted physical activity, alcohol and substance use, some medications, narrowing in the carotid artery that feeds the brain and eating habits are among the risk factors that can be changed.
The first few hours are critical
Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya, who pointed out that “stroke is a disorder that has to be treated very quickly”, explained that the earlier treatment is administered once symptoms appear, the more likely it will be effective. Pointing out that when stroke is responded to in the first hours the clot that is preventing the brain from getting nutrition can be removed and permanent damage can be prevented, Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya added: “Stroke is a crisis in the brain so patients much be rushed to an equipped hospital and response needs to be very fast just like in a heart attack. Also it is important that the treatment called thrombosis is administered within the specified time period by experienced neurologists in hospitals with intensive care, radiology and a 24 hour on-call neurologist.”