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Stroke occurs when the blood supply to some part of the brain is suddenly interrupted (blood clot) or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, with leakage of blood (brain hemorrhage). Stroke is the second most common cause of death after heart attack globally and stroke leads to significant disability. The common symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of one half of the body, sudden inability to speak or understand, confusion, sudden loss of vision, sudden difficulty in walking, loss of balance or coordination, dizziness, and sudden severe headache without a reason. Following stroke one may have problem with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment, and memory. While older people are particularly vulnerable to stroke, young strokes are common in India, affecting those below 40 years of age. Common risk factors for stroke are cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol drinking, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of regular exercise.
Early recognition of stroke symptoms makes a big difference and can lead to better outcome with well-timed treatment. The golden window period to arrive at the hospital should be within three hours of stroke attack, for thrombolysis and clot removal, delaying would lead to irreversible brain damage causing permanent disability. Stroke rehabilitation with physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy is vital for recovery of function. Also about 25 percent of people who recover from their first stroke will have another stroke within 5 years. Stroke awareness in general public and prevention is very important. Control of high blood pressure, diabetes, avoid smoking and heavy alcohol consumption, Having healthy life style with daily exercise and taking medication regularly is vital to prevent stroke.