WHAT IS A STROKE?

One in four people globally will have a stroke in their lifetime. Just let that statistic sink in, that's 25%! Stroke is actually one of Australia’s biggest killers, with more female deaths than breast cancer and more male deaths than prostate cancer. These are pretty damning numbers, so lets first learn about what a stroke is in order to better understand how to reduce our risk.

A stroke happens when blood cannot get to your brain, because of a blocked or burst artery. As a result, your brain cells die due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients. Strokes, like many health conditions, are categorised into different types:

  • Ischaemic (is-key-mick) - an artery in the brain gets blocked by a clot; or

  • Haemorrhagic - a blood vessel in the brain breaks and causes bleeding.

These two variants can also be divided in to more specific types of stroke, but the overall description is a blockage of blood to the brain, which causes death of brain cells.

The type, severity and location of a stroke determine the short and long term effects suffered - areas of the brain that focus on thinking, moving, behaviour, verbalising, feeling and other senses can be reduced.

More than 80% of strokes can be prevented. Now that we know the process and side effects, what can we do to reduce our chances of suffering a stroke? Generally speaking ageing men are at the highest risk of stroke, however other risk factors include:

  • blood pressure

  • cardiac health

  • weight

  • general health and nutrition

  • high cholesterol

  • alcohol intake

  • the presence of diabetes

A great overall prevention strategy is the following:

  1. Make time for a regular health check for stroke risk factors - including blood pressure, diabetes, weight, cholesterol, cardiac, smoking etc.

  2. Take charge of your own health and live a healthy lifestyle - choose an active lifestyle, healthy diet and reduce stress.

If you are at risk of stroke and want some guidance in improving your, our qualified allied health professionals are a friendly and safe place to start. Call us on 07 5456 1599 and ask about a consultation. For more information about strokes visit the Stroke Foundation website.