Understanding and Prevention of Stroke

Understanding Stroke

Among all the diseases, stroke ranked second over twenty deadly diseases in the Philippines recorded by World Health Organization.  According to the latest WHO data published in May 2014, stroke deaths in Philippines reached 63,261 or 12.14% of total deaths. The age adjusted death rate is 119.21 per 100,000 of population. This ranks Philippines  as 54th in the world.

According to Cleveland Clinic stroke can be associated to “brain attack”. It only occurs when blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or bursts resulting to incapability of the brain to store oxygen, thus it relies to a network of blood vessel to provide  it with blood that is rich in oxygen. It results also in lack of blood supply, causing a surrounding nerve cell to be cut off from their supply of nutrients and oxygen. This led brain cells (neurons) to die and synapses (connection between neurons) to be lost. As a result, the parts of the body controlled by the brain don’t function normally.

According to Understanding Stroke A Guide for Stroke Survivors and Their Families, there two categories of stroke which often happen. These are ischemic and  hemorrhagic stroke. The picture below shows the difference between ischemic and  hemorrhagic stroke (Dr. De Silva, et al, 2014).stroke-types

In line with American Stroke Association, there are risk factors classified which can be unchangeable. These are age, heredity (family history ), race, sex, and prior stroke, TIA or heart attack. On the other hand, risk factors wherein can be changeable are high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, carotid or other artery disease, peripheral artery disease, atrial fibrillation, other heart disease, sickle cell disease, high blood cholesterol, poor diet, and physical inactivity or obesity.

Prevention of Stroke

“Prevention is better than cure.” 

Being aware and knowledgeable about stroke is a weapon for us to prevent it from attacking our health system. The picture below are the common signs and symptoms about stroke.signs-and-symptoms

After understanding stroke, its risk  factors, signs and symptoms,  we can prevent all the threats of stroke and whatever it may bring. Here are the seven (7) tips on preventing stroke by Harvard Publications of  Harvard Medical School.

1. Lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is a huge factor, doubling or even quadrupling your stroke risk if it is not controlled.

2. Lose weight

High blood pressure is a huge factor, doubling or even quadrupling your stroke risk if it is not controlled.

3. Exercise more

Exercise contributes to losing weight and lowering blood pressure, but it also stands on its own as an independent stroke reducer.

4. Drink — in moderation

What you’ve heard is true. Drinking can make you less likely to have a stroke — up to a point.

5. Treat atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a form of irregular heartbeat that causes clots to form in the heart. Those clots can then travel to the brain, producing a stroke.

6. Treat diabetes

Having high blood sugar damages blood vessels over time, making clots more likely to form inside them.

7. Quit smoking

Smoking accelerates clot formation in a couple of different ways. It thickens your blood, and it increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries.


De Silva et al, 2014. Understanding Stroke Guide for Storke Survivors and their Families. Retreived on December 26, 2016 at http://www.strokesocietyphil.org/files/Understanding-Stroke-Guide-for-Stroke-Survivors-and-Their-Families_Full_final.pdf.






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