What To Know About Strokes

A stroke is the result of a sudden disturbance in the blood supply to the brain because blood vessels clog, tear or burst. As a result, parts of the brain are no longer supplied with oxygen and nutrients.

Stroke symptoms vary depending on which part of the brain is affected. Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • visual or speech disorders
  • signs of paralysis
  • numbness sensations
  • unsteady gait.

In any case, immediate action must be taken if one or more of these symptoms occur. As a patient or relative, call 112 immediately or see a doctor, because a stroke can only be treated optimally in the first three to four and a half hours.

What causes a stroke?

Most strokes are caused by reduced blood flow. This is caused by calcification of the blood vessels or by blood clots. More rarely, it is caused by a cerebral hemorrhage, for example by a burst aneurysm.

Can I reduce the risk of stroke?

You can have your personal stroke risk determined by having your doctor perform a gentle ultrasound examination of your carotid artery. If the constriction is severe, the risk of stroke can be reduced by an operation to remove deposits from the carotid artery.

Further risk factors are for example:

  • Hypertension,
  • Overweight,
  • Smoking,
  • Diabetes,
  • a high cholesterol level,
  • Tendency to thrombosis.

Some of these risk factors such as smoking or obesity can be influenced by a healthy lifestyle. This includes not smoking, exercise and a healthy diet.

Who is particularly at risk?

In general, people over the age of 60 are more at risk, but young people can also be affected and should take symptoms very seriously. Women suffer strokes more often than men because they live five years longer on average.

What is the risk of having a second stroke?

People who have already suffered a stroke have a higher risk of having another stroke. Especially in the first year after a circulatory disorder of the brain has been overcome, the risk is increased. It is therefore all the more important to reduce the risk factors after a stroke and to ensure a healthy lifestyle.