How educated are you about the risk of stroke?

17 August 2012

New research has put the dangers of stroke back in the spotlight, as well as detail problems which can occur while a person recovers from such a severe health condition.

According to the study, which was carried out as part of the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) Stroke Disparities Program and published in the journal Stroke, black people who survive a certain type of stroke will likely have higher blood pressure than white people.

This result was found after studying 162 patients, who had an average age of 59 years old, were split 53/47 between men and women and of whom 77 per cent were black people.

The entire study group had been treated for their initial stroke at hospitals around Washington D.C. and analysis had found that black people who developed the condition due to bleeding in the brain had recorded higher levels of blood pressure than white people a year after their treatment.

Strokes caused by bleeding in the brain is known as intracranial haemorrhage and account for around ten per cent of all strokes recorded across the world. Furthermore, the death rate in the first month after the condition strikes is about 40 per cent – significantly higher than other forms of stroke.

Lead author Chelsea Kidwell, who is a professor in the department of Neurology at GUMC and director of its Stroke Center, believes that her team's research could hold the key to a medical breakthrough for treating the condition.

"Identifying how prevalent high blood pressure is this far out from a stroke can help us tailor intervention programs that can truly make a difference," she highlighted.

Thwarting the development of stroke FAST

Of course, as with many medical diseases, looking out for the symptoms of stroke and getting medical help immediately is also advised for the condition's treatment.

A way to know when to act is remember the acronym FAST, which stands for Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech problems and Time to act.

For the former three points, people are advised to seek medical attention as soon as they notice a problem – thus the fourth point. Getting checked over will not take too long and will give people peace of mind, even if the problem does not turn out to be an onset of stroke.

Strokes can be treated if caught in time

People need to take note that there have been many medical developments where strokes are concerned, should a person react to a problem without delay.

It is commonplace for a person suffering from the onset of the condition to be taken to accident and emergency and undergo a variety of screening and medical tests. What's more, patients should expect to stay in a hospital for at least a short duration of time – this length of time will be dependent on how severe the symptoms are at the time of treatment.

On top of these points, while some people will completely recover from a stroke there will be situations where individuals have to undertake a long period of rehabilitation.

Furthermore, not everyone will ever fully win their battle against stroke but in many cases will regain at least a percentage of mobility.

Tips for reducing the risk of stroke

Various studies over the past few years have disclosed that there are some risk factors associated with stroke which are under a person's control.

For instance, smoking doubles the risk of someone suffering the severe condition, while binge drinking or consuming heavy doses of alcohol on a regular basis also heightens the danger considerably.

Diets which are high in salt and fat contents are also discouraged, as such lifestyles are linked to high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Being physically inactive can cause a serious deterioration in health as well, and so should be refrained against too.

Posted by Edward Bartel

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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