In old age, a stroke is one of the most common diseases. But what exactly is a stroke and how does it manifest itself? We got to the bottom of the questions.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a disease related to the brain. It affects parts of the brain where the oxygen supply is interrupted. In other words, the brain is no longer supplied with sufficient oxygen and slowly dies. Therefore, in the event of a stroke, one must act very quickly and take first aid measures.
The lack of oxygen supply to the brain usually occurs when a blood vessel becomes blocked. This means that not enough oxygen can reach the brain. Another cause could be a brain haemorrhage. In this case, blood flows into parts of the brain where the blood should not actually flow through.
Different symptoms can then occur with a stroke. This is because different symptoms occur depending on the region of the brain that is affected. This is because the left side of the brain is responsible for the right side of the body and the right side of the brain is responsible for the left side of the body. This explains why hemiplegia occurs on the right or left side of the body after a stroke.
What happens during a stroke?
If the cause of the stroke is a blocked vessel, it is generally referred to as a cerebral infarction. A clogged blood vessel is caused, for example, by pre-existing conditions such as arteriosclerosis. This pre-existing disease usually occurs at an older age because the blood vessels have deposits. But a bad lifestyle with poor nutrition and little exercise can also trigger constrictions in the blood vessels.
If a blood vessel is finally blocked, not enough blood and thus oxygen can reach the brain. But since our brain can only survive with a sufficient supply of oxygen, it slowly dies. But in order to continue living, we need a functioning brain. As soon as the brain starts to die, it tries to send signals. This is when the symptoms appear. Depending on the severity, the symptoms are weaker or stronger.
If a blood vessel bursts, this is called a cerebral haemorrhage. Blood reaches areas of the brain through the burst blood vessel. Here, too, a previous illness is usually the cause of the burst vessel. In addition to cerebral haemorrhage, in rare cases there is also bleeding of the spaces between the brain and the meninges. This is where the cerebrospinal fluid is located.
What are symptoms of a stroke?
Different symptoms can occur with a stroke. It depends on the severity and the region of the brain affected. Nevertheless, there are also clear and typical symptoms of a stroke.
- Stiff neck
- Severe headache
- Various paralyses (arms, legs and face)
- Drooping corners of the mouth
- Eyelid closed on one side.
- Speech disorders
- Impaired visual functions
There are often cases in which a stroke only becomes noticeable gradually or the person affected does not notice it themselves. If the person behaves in a conspicuously strange way, it is very easy to carry out a so-called FAST test.
- F = Face
- A = Arms
- S = Speech
- T = Time
This test can be used to see if a person is possibly having a stroke. You should look for drooping corners of the mouth (F), paralysis of the arms (A) and speech functions (S). To do this, just have the person smile, raise their arms and speak. If the affected person encounters difficulties in doing this, dial the emergency number as soon as possible (T).
What are the causes of a stroke?
The main causes leading to a stroke are either a blocked or a burst vessel. As a result, not enough oxygen reaches the brain, or a brain haemorrhage occurs. But how does it get that far in the first place?
Again, other causes are the reason for this:
- Pre-existing conditions such as arteriosclerosis
- Poor diet
- Not enough exercise
- and much more.
But age also plays a role in a stroke. It is not unlikely that you will suffer a stroke at an advanced age. Sometimes you get off quite well and the consequences are not serious. The crucial thing is to act quickly and get the right treatment. In many cases, however, the consequences are severe, such as paralysis. Here, the subsequent treatment by a specialist is of great importance. You are often very limited, but you can go on living.
Consequences of a stroke
As with the symptoms, the consequences of a stroke vary depending on the severity. Some effects are more severe and others are less severe.
Nevertheless, there are typical consequences after a stroke:
- Speech disorders
- Reading and writing disability
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty chewing
- Long-term paralysis of certain regions (arms, legs, etc.)
- Long-term hemiplegia
If these consequences occur, one should undergo treatment by a doctor. Here, the doctor determines the appropriate treatment individually for the problems of the affected person. This includes, for example, therapy sessions with a physiotherapist to stimulate the impaired body functions again. But it does not always work.
Preventing a stroke is of course very difficult. In principle, you have to make sure that a vascular occlusion or cerebral haemorrhage does not occur. For this to happen, the blood vessels must continue to function well. The prerequisites for this are a balanced diet and sufficient exercise.
With these two measures, you can counteract the causes of a stroke enormously. It is enough to go jogging or for a walk on a regular basis. Of course, these measures must be adapted to your age. In addition, you should stop smoking or, if necessary, alcohol consumption now at the latest. These factors can also damage the blood vessels in the long run.
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