A stroke is really a “brain attack!” Just like a heart attack effects the heart, a stroke or “brain attack” affects the brain. Vital blood and oxygen to the brain cells are cut off resulting in some level of damage to the effected brain tissue. Most strokes happen when the artery or blood vessel is blocked by a blood clot or by the gradual build-up of plaque and other fatty deposits or by sickle cells which tend to sick together once they have changed into their sickle shape.
The freestyle swimming stroke was thought to have originated in Australia which is partially true. The stroke used to be called the “Australian Crawl” because competitive swimmers from Australia were winning events with this stroke. It is said the freestyle was originally from the pacific islands possibly the Solomon’s.
There is a story which is probably true about a boy from the Solomon Islands who went to work in Australia in the 1800′s. He used to swim in one of the local pools using this stroke and someone pointed out that it looked like he was crawling. A swim coach took the basics of this stroke and refined it to what is the freestyle of today. The Australians were winning races with this stroke and the world took notice.
Fortunately, strokes can be adequately treated. In recent times, far less people will die from experiencing a stroke. This may be related to a better understanding of why strokes may materialize in the first place. Factors like high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol when controlled will dramatically decrease the chances of developing a stroke. Consequently with this knowledge most individuals are able to lower their individual risk which in turn lessens the total number of strokes that may occur.
Symptoms of Stroke:
1. Sudden trouble in standing
2. Dizziness and loss of balance
3. Sudden confusion
4. Having trouble speaking and understanding
5. Sudden severe headaches
6. Sudden trouble seeing
Treatment of stroke initially involves using thrombolytic (clot breaking) medication and measures to prevent further brain damage or another stroke. It is paramount in getting patients who have had a stroke to reduce their risk factors such as getting them to quit smoking, bringing their blood pressure under control, and treating their lipids (cholesterol) if those are elevated. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are important and often required in the management and rehabilitation of patients after a stroke in an attempt to improve and restore motor function.
Generally there are three treatment stages for stroke: prevention, therapy immediately after the stroke, and post stroke rehabilitation. Therapies to prevent a first or recurrent stroke are based on treating an individuals underlying risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes. Lowering blood pressure has been conclusively shown to prevent both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Aspirin prevents against first stroke in patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction. Nutrition, specifically the Mediterranean-style diet, has the potential of more than halving stroke risk.
Causes of stroke:
Stroke causes a greater range of disability than any other chronic disease and is often associated with atherosclerosis hardening of the arteries. Plague made of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances build up in the arteries leaving less space can cause an ischemic stroke. Atherosclerosis can also make it easy for a clot to form. While hemorrhagic stroke often result from uncontrolled high blood pressure that causes a weakened artery to burst.
Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Columbia University in New York studied 655 people who suffered first ischemic strokes. (Ischemic strokes are due to plugged blood vessels and not bleeds, and comprise 85-90% of all strokes.) Publishing their results in a March 2006 issue of the journal “Neurology,” the investigators found that in the first five years following the stroke there was an 18% likelihood of another. Over the same time period the research subjects also had a 5% likelihood of a heart attack.
A list of certified stroke units in the U.S. are available on the Joint Commission website for easy identification of which hospital to go to for this purpose. It is actually suggested that one should make oneself a personal list of the nearest stroke unit to where one works and to where one lives in the event of emergency to ensure that you get where you’re supposed to go to at the fastest possible time.
A stroke is characterized by significant disruption of the blood flow to the brain which may lead to a decrease in the incoming blood supply. When this happens the brain tissue will be deprived of oxygen and the necessary nutrients. After short while, brain cells will be progressively killed. It is therefore a medical emergency that requires immediate assessment and treatment to improve the chances of recovery. When early treatment is implemented the impairment to the brain is drastically decreased and any other complications that may occur can be avoided.