Almost 800,000 Americans suffer from a stroke annually, and some proving deadly. A stroke is a result of the cut or interruption of oxygen from the brain and is often characterized by sudden weakness on one body side, paralysis in the face, and the sudden inability to speak.
Knowing the warning signs of stroke is of high importance as it might save your life in the case of an emergency. Stroke can be of two types, ischemic and hemorrhagic.
The first one occurs due to the blockade of the blood vessels in the brain or neck, which in turn cuts off the blood and oxygen flow to the brain. It is most often a result of thrombosis, embolism, and stenosis.
On the other hand, hemorrhagic strokes occur due to the rupture of a blood vessel, which causes the leaking of blood into the brain. It is a result of an aneurysm or arterio-venous malformation, and accounts for 10-15% of stroke cases, and 30-60% of stroke-related deaths.
These are the causes and risk factors for strokes:
- Family history of strokes
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
- Sleep disorders
- High cholesterol
- Alcohol abuse
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Using artificial sweeteners
- Drug use
To remember the symptoms of stroke better, you should remember the acronym FAST, which stands for:
- Face: Smile into the mirror and check if one face side droops
- Arms: Raise the arms above the head, and see if you are unable to raise one of the arms, or if it falls or drifts
- Speech: Repeat a simple phrase and check if your speech is strange or slurred
- Time: If you experience any of these signs, do not waste more time and immediately dial 911.
Here are the other symptoms of strokes:
- Paralysis of the face, arm or leg
- Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
- Unusual, intense headache
- Inability to speak
- Irregular breathing
- Sudden weakness on one side of the body
- Sudden numbness or tingling in any part of the body, including the face
- Confusion and memory loss
- Severe muscle stiffness
- Unsteady walk or poor balance which causes staggering, weaving or veering
- Loss of consciousness
- Vision loss, blurred vision, double vision or trouble focusing
Here are 14 steps to recover from a stroke:
The aim of the rehabilitation is to improve the coping and communication skills, boost cognitive thinking, and improve physical function. It might be a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, visits to a psychologist and more.
- Eye Exercises
Such exercises might help you to improve vision, and they include various games that boost vision, like search puzzles.
Regular exercise lowers the risk of stroke, and after experiencing one, it improves the body balance and coordination and boosts body strength.
- Vitamin D
The deficiency in this vitamin is another risk factor for strokes. To prevent strokes and boost the function of the brain, you should spend more time outdoors in the sun, and take vitamin D supplements.
Acupuncture has been practiced for millennia in the traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment of various health issues. It relieves pain, boosts blood circulation, and fights anxiety.
The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies published a study which discovered that participants who did Pilates twice a week for 9 months improved their body posture, balance, and extremity strength.
- Black or Green Tea
It has been found that the consumption of at least 3 cups of black or green tea daily lowers the risk of stroke. After a stroke, black and green tea reduce stress, regulate blood sugar, improve heart health, and lower the risk of another stroke.
Sleep disorders are a risk factor for strokes, so you should find a way to improve sleep. Make sure your room is completely dark, you are relaxed, and you do not use any electronic device at least half an hour before bedtime.
To fight insomnia, sprinkle some lavender oil on the sheets and pillows.
- Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes increases the risk of stroke. To regulate blood sugar, consume high-fiber foods, and avoid refined sugars, alcohol, and grains from the diet.
- Music Therapy
Music therapy reduces the symptoms of strokes. According to the findings of a recent study, people who have had a stroke, and participated in music and rhythm therapy, experienced a 38% improvement on the stroke recovery scale, and their cognition, balance, strength, and grip improved significantly.
Many stroke survivors fight depression, anxiety, and mental fatigue. Meditation boosts happiness, improves memory and sleep quality, and enhances the focus and mental performance.
- Mediterranean Diet
The journal Atherosclerosis published a study which showed that people who don’t follow a Mediterranean Diet are at an increased risk of strokes. The Mediterranean diet is rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and beans, and healthy fats including nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
This juice lowers LDL levels, which, when high, are a major risk factor for a stroke. The pomegranate juice also boosts heart health and memory and fights inflammation.
Yoga provides amazing benefits for our physical, mental and emotional health. It stimulates the GABA release, which treats anxiety, boosts muscle control, and maintains emotional balance.