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Health Matters

World Stroke Day

Socorro Piñeiro . 29/10/2016

Strokes are the main cause of death and inability in Portugal. Early diagnosis is crucial to minimize brain damages. A stroke is defined as a sudden neurological defect caused by a problem in cerebral blood vessels.

There are two types of strokes:

- Ischemic stroke: caused by the obstruction or sudden decrease in blood flow in a cerebral artery, causing lack of blood circulation in irrigated area.

- Haemorrhagic stroke: caused by the rupture of a blood vessel, with bleeding into the surrounding brain.

Warning Signs

Since, “time is brain”, it is extremely important to recognize stroke warning signs.

Be aware of any of the following symptoms (Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T):

- Face dropping;

- Arm Weakness;

- Speech difficulty;

- Time to call 112.

Other possible stroke symptoms:

- Lack of strength, numbness, tingling sensation in face, arms or legs, especially if only on one side of the body;

- Mental confusion;

- Vision changes (in one or both eyes);

- Change in balance;

- Sudden headache, intense, with no apparent cause.

If you suspect someone is having a stroke, it is important that you are able to clarify attending health professionals on the following:

- Symptoms start time;

- Conditions the person may suffer from;

- Ongoing medication.

Stroke risk factors

Risk factors are divided into non-modifiable (gender, age, race, heredity and prior stroke) and modifiable (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, tobacco use, excessive alcohol intake, heart diseases – atrial fibrillation, ischemic heart disease, sedentary lifestyle and obesity).

Stroke Treatment

A stroke is a medical emergency: the longer it takes to start treatment, the more neurons will be affected and the worst consequences will be.

Facing a suspicion of stroke, it is mandatory to call 112. This will activate a Green Line for Stroke, a care circuit which will lead the person to a hospital where experienced professionals will confirm the occurrence of a stroke, perform the necessary exams and decide on appropriate treatment.

Because a stroke is such an incapacitating disease and often devastating for those who suffer from it, as well as their family, rehabilitation plays a crucial role. Early intervention is mandatory and usually lasts for months, in order to allow the person who had a stroke to recover as much autonomy as possible. Carnaxide Mental Health Clinic presents a set of solutions in this area, both for the person who suffered a stroke and for his/hers caregivers.

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