Stroke: A Deadly Traitor

Strokes account for one of every five deaths from cardiovascular disease.

The brain is a glutton. It demands one-fifth of the blood the heart pumps. But it also starves quickly. If its supply of blood is reduced for any reason, permanent damage can occur within five minutes. That’s what happens when a stroke occurs—a sudden interruption in the blood flow to the brain and subsequent brain damage. Four out of five victims will survive the first stroke with only partial brain damage and handicaps of varying degrees. But strokes account for one of every five deaths from cardiovascular disease. About 80 percent of these occur in people over 65 years of age. 28 percent of stroke victims are younger than age 65.

The symptoms of stroke can develop within minutes. The victim usually loses consciousness and collapses. The face may be flushed. Vomiting and convulsions may follow. Often the damage is on one side of the brain, so it affects only one side of the body. The pupil in one eye may appear larger than the other. The muscles may be weakened on one side of the body. The mouth may be pulled to one side. Immediate medical attention is important.

Recovery is slow and tedious and often involves a program of muscle therapy. Exercises may help a person regain some of the functions that were affected by the stroke. Many have to learn how to walk again. It takes time and patience, and often, the effort means being able to resume former responsibilities.

The tragedy of stroke is that though it strikes suddenly, the weakened health condition which leads to it is one that develops slowly and is usually preventable. The cause of stroke is often traceable to lifestyle—lack of exercise, high stress, or a diet high in fats—particularly lard and animal fats.

If a person has arteriosclerosis, a floating piece of blood clot can lodge in one of the narrow arteries in the brain. Sometimes, because of high blood pressure, a brain artery may rupture at a weak point, causing blood to flow into the brain tissue and cutting off the supply of blood to other areas of the brain.

Developing a lifestyle that includes attention to health habits will pay off in the long run. Reducing the chances of becoming a stroke victim is just one of the benefits you’ll receive.

Copyright © 11/30/2009 Athena Goodlight (Healthmad)

Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Detection