Bulletin : Frequently Asked Questions about Stroke


According to the Department of Health, diseases of the heart have been the number 1 cause of death in the Philippines since 1993. This is followed closely by diseases of the vascular system. Both are major risk factors leading to the development of stroke. The 3rd week of August is the Brain Attack Awareness Week. The following frequently asked questions about stroke aim to give information about the disease.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stroke

What is stroke?

A stroke is a brain attack. It occurs when a blood vessel, which is carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain, bursts or is blocked by a clot causing an interruption of the blood supply to a part of the brain. Brain cells in the part of the brain, deprived of blood, die. This affects bodily functions as well as parts of the body that are controlled by the brain region affected by the stroke.  A stroke can also affect mental processes such as how people feel, think, communicate, or learn. A massive stroke can be fatal.

What are the symptoms of stroke?

The person may experience sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Some clues can be used to help a witness recognize if someone had a stroke:

·         Face: Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
·         Arms: Can they raise both arms and keep them there?
·         Speech: Is their speech slurred?

If any of these signs are observed, the patient should be brought to the hospital immediately.

What are the risk factors of stroke?

Some people are at a higher risk of stroke due to other risk factors, which include:

·         high blood pressure 
·         heart diseases known as atrial fibrillation
·         family history of stroke
·         smoking
·         being overweight
·         poor diet
·         diabetes 
·         high cholesterol 
·         physical inactivity
·         too much alcohol

How is stroke managed?

Generally there are three management stages for stroke: prevention, therapy immediately after the stroke, and post-stroke rehabilitation.

a. Prevention aims to address the underlying causes of stroke, such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes.
b. Acute stroke therapies try to stop a stroke while it is happening by quickly dissolving the blood clot causing an ischemic stroke or by stopping the bleeding of a hemorrhagic stroke. This is usually done in the hospital.
c. Post-stroke rehabilitation helps individuals overcome disabilities that result from stroke damage. Drug therapy is the most common treatment for stroke. The most popular classes of drugs used to prevent or treat stroke are those that prevent blood coagulation (anticoagulants or blood thinners) and those that dissolve blood clots (thrombolytics)

What are the effects of a stroke?

The spectrum of the effects of stroke is extensive and may include any of the following:

  • Weakness or lack of movement of leg and/or arm (paralysis) including thinning of muscles
  • Perceptual or visual problems
  • Sensory problems
  • Problems thinking or remembering (cognitive problems)
  • Trouble speaking, understanding, reading or writing
  • Incontinence (poor bladder and anal control)
  • Shoulder pain or arm pain/stiffness
  • Feeling worried or sad
  • Problems controlling  feelings
  • Problems with one’s sexuality

What can be done to reduce the risk for stroke?

Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability. It can also be fatal. Hence it is important to aim at reducing the risk for stroke.

a. Monitor and control  blood pressure to maintain  normal levels
b. Track  cholesterol level
c. Stop smoking
d. Exercise  regularly
e. Manage medical conditions that pose the risk of developing stroke

If you have hypertension or diabetes, which are risk factors of stroke, you can join the Hypertension and Diabetes Program of the University. There are activities that can help you manage your medical condition.

For concerns regarding stroke, visit the Health Services office or you can e-mail: health.care@dlsu.edu.ph.

Thank you.

References:
http://www.webmd.com/stroke/frequently-asked-questions-about-stroke
http://www.stroke.ie/iopen24/faqs-stroke-t-483_495_661.html
http://www.doh.gov.ph/node/198

 

Contact Information

Medical and Dental Services
Main: Ground Floor, Br. Gabriel Connon Hall
(Student Personnel Services Building)
2401 Taft Avenue, Malate
1004 Manila, Philippines
Tel. Nos.: (63.2) 536.0252; 524.4611 loc. 710
Email: University Clinic