A Stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures or becomes clogged and stops blood flow to the brain causing tissue to deteriorate and die.

The onset of a stroke is marked with several warning symptoms: including sudden weakness or numbness of the face, numbness in the arm or leg on one side of the body, loss of speech, trouble talking, failure to understand others, dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes, unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness, or sudden falls, especially along with any of the previous symptoms. If you experience any of these warning signs please seek medical treatment immediately.

A small amount of strokes are preceded by TIAs (transient ischemic attacks) which can occur days, weeks or months before a major stroke. TIAs result when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery and blocks part of the brain from receiving the blood supply it needs. The symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time, usually a few minutes to several hours. These symptoms are similar to the stroke symptoms, but because they only last 24 hours or less the may be ignored. It is best to seek medical attention should any symptoms occur.

Factors which could contribute to the likelihood of stroke include old age, gender (males are at an increased risk), race (African-Canadians are at higher risk), diabetes, heredity and an Asymptomatic Carotid Bruit- an abnormal sound that is heard with the aid of a stethoscope.

Some medical conditions can also increase the risk of stroke including high blood pressure, heart disease and a high red blood cell count. These factors can be modified through treatment and medical attention. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also minimize help manage these contributing conditions. Other modifiable behaviour to help ward of stroke is not smoking, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level, maintaining a normal BMI, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and avoiding non-prescription drugs.

Rehabilitation efforts can provide improvement in function and many times the individual affected by stroke can return to a normal active lifestyle. However, recovery depends on the severity of the stroke and the brain damage caused by it. Some senses may never fully recover including a person’s speech, ability to understand speech, behavioural patterns, thought patterns and memory. Often paralysis on one side of the body can occur as a result of the stroke which can also be improved through medical rehabilitation.

Suffers of a stroke should begin rehabilitation efforts as soon after a brain attack as possible. The human body will attempt to compensate for stroke by growing neighbouring blood vessels and improving the blood supply to that area which can improve stroke symptoms as well.

There are several products that can assist those who have suffered a stroke. Please contact your Harding Medical representative for more information on any of the products on our website.

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