What Is A Stroke?

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You may have heard of the clinical condition called ‘stroke’. If you haven’t, then it is of utmost importance that you read the information we have for you here.

Our vital organs require a continuous supply of blood and nutrients to help them function normally. In order for this to take place, the blood vessels that supply the organ must be healthy.

In certain circumstances, the blood vessels that supply the vital organs can become diseased or blocked from one or more causes. When this occurs in the brain, it is called a stroke.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’. It is a condition where the blood supply to the brain is cut off.

When the blood to the brain tissue is cut off, the cells and tissues in the brain start to die as they do not get the oxygen and nourishment they need to work normally. This can affect brain function such as control of speech and muscle movements, in addition to memory problems.

Types of stroke

There are different kinds of stroke that are described in books and encountered in clinical practice.

  1. Hemorrhagic stroke – This type of stroke is due to bleeding in the brain. Read more here.
  2. Ischemic stroke – This type of stroke is due to cutting off of blood to the brain due to blockage of a blood vessel. Read more here.
  3. Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – This is a milder form of stroke that usually resolves in 24 hours. The blood supply is only cut off for a short while. Read more here.

Stroke in India

In our clinical practice, we have noted that not many people are aware of what a ‘stroke’ is. Many are more familiar with terms like paralysis. It is important to remember that stroke does not necessary mean paralysis. It is also important to bear in mind that stroke can be treated, and new treatments have now emerged that can allow those who have suffered a stroke to return to completely normal activity in a short period of time.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in India. Clinical studies have found that nearly 145 people out of 1 lac suffer from stroke. While this may not seem like much, it is in fact quite significant. In Kolkata, around 42% of people who suffer from stroke die from it.

Stroke is more common in men than in women. Women who suffer from a stroke tend to be older compared to men. Ischemic strokes are more common than other types. There are many risk factors in the development of stroke, and high blood pressure is believed to be the primary cause. Over 54% of people with high BP develop a stroke.

Besides high blood pressure, smoking is another risk factor that is recognised as a cause of stroke.

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