Stroke Symptoms, Risk Factors and Prevention






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Know the symptoms, early warning signs, causes, prevention and treatment of stroke. The information on early warning signs of stroke has been taken from literature and intended for general use only. Please consult your Doctor for any medical problem.

Brain stroke is fast emerging as a silent killer even of youngsters. Doctors blame this for high levels of stress and an erratic lifestyle causing disorders like diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and heart disease. Both men and women are at risk of having stroke.



  1. Ischemic Stroke: a clot blocks flow of blood in an artery or vessel.
  2. Hemorrhagic Stroke: a blood vessel in the brain bursts.

Strokes come in two forms:

In both the cases, due to the loss of blood the brain cells starve in the affected area, causing cells to die. If the cells of important centers of the organ die, then the ability to speak, walk or remember suffer. But if the stroke is mild, there may be no impact on the functions of the body.

The 5 warning signs are given below:

  1. Sudden weakness, numbness or paralysis of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, that does not go away in a few minutes
  2. Sudden blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes that does not clear with blinking
  3. Sudden intense headache with no known cause.
  4. Sudden development of difficulty in speaking or understanding simple statements.
  5. Sudden severe dizziness or trouble in walking or loss of coordination or loss of balance.

If the symptoms goes away in a few minutes, they may be caused by a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a temporary stroke, which is a strong sign of a major stroke to occur soon. If you have any of these signs without any reasons, consult your Doctor. TIA symptoms should be taken seriously as they are the warning signs of a brain stroke.

Simple Stroke Test

FAST is an easy way to remember the signs of stroke. It refers to: Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time to act. The FAST is a simple test for stroke. It involves three simple questions:

Face: Can the person smile? Has the mouth dropped?

Arms: Can the person raise both the arms?

Speech: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

Time: Act fast and call ambulance immediately if the person has difficulty in any of these.

Quick and Immediate action can save the life or severe disability.

Stroke Causes

Stroke is a result of a clot blocking the flow of blood to the brain. Ischemic stroke is caused by blockage of blood flow to the brain.

Thrombotic stroke: The clot forms inside the brain. About 50% of the cases are in this type.

In thrombosis, a blood clot completely blocks an artery, which has been already narrowed by deposition of fatty substances and high blood cholesterol level.

Hemorrhagic stroke: The blood vessel in the brain bursts or start leaking.

Hemorrhagic stroke: This is generally caused by high blood pressure, ruptured an artery.

Embolic stroke: The clot formed in other part of the body and travels to the brain. About 20% of the cases are in this type.

In a research reported in the Medical Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, on 26 Dec 2007 by Bruce Ovbiagele of UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles says that people with high triglycerides and elevated "non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol" were more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those with low levels of these fats in the blood.

Sleep disorder increases stroke risk
If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep, you have 15 per cent greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke and a 48 per cent greater chance from heart disease, according to Professor Francesco Cappuccio from the University of Warwick Medical School.

But sleeping overly long, more than 9 hours at a stretch may be an indicator of illness, including cardiovascular disease.

Smoking increases stroke risk
Smoking cigarette increases the rsik of getting stroke. The nicotine in cigarettes raises the blood pressure. The cigarette smoke also thickens the blood which can cause clotting.

Obesity increases stroke risk
The risk of having a stroke becomes more as BMI increases. Obese or overweight people can have deposits of plaque in their arteries. The plaque can rupture sometimes, causing a blood clot to form. Any clot close to the brain can block the flow of blood to the brain, causing a stroke.

Stroke Prevention

Many of the risk factors for strok are be controlled or treated. It is possible prevent stroke if you eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and check your blood pressure (normal blood pressure) and cholesterol (cholesterol levels) regularly. If people eat more potassium rich foods and also reduce their salt intake, the annual global deaths from strokes would be less by more than a million a year!


Keep a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol.

Do not smoke.

Limit alcohol consumption.

Exercise regularly.

Sunbathing Reduces Stroke Risk

Just 15 minutes of sunbathing a day can boost vitamin D levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in older adults, says Cardiologist Dr Brent Muhlestein of Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, too much sun can cause melanoma.

Foods That Cut The Chances of Stroke

  1. Eating tomato and containing food rich in antioxidant lycopene can halve the risk of stroke, Finland researchers reported in year 2012.
  2. Eating one banana per day provides the 500 milligrams of potassium to reduce the chances of stroke by 40%.
    Folic acid - a vitamin that prevents birth defects in babies - seems to also reduce the risk of stroke in adults, according to new research.
  3. Green Tea Reduces Stroke Risk: Tea is the healthier option for a beverage drink.
    Two cups of green tea a day may reduce a person's risk of having the most common form of stroke, according to Professor Colin Binns of the School of Public Health at Curtin University in Western Australia and reported in the journal Stroke in June 2009. The report further says that other kinds of tea are half as effective as green tea in reducing the risk.
  4. Folate appears to lower the concentration of homocysteine, linked to damage of the arteries as well as to blood clots, according to the researchers at the Children's Memorial Research Center of Northwestern University in Chicago. According to this research, stroke risk among people who took a folic acid supplement vitamin daily for three years or more had a stroke risk reduction of 29%.
    Foods high in folic acid include legumes or lentils, chickpeas (chole) and leafy green vegetables and fruits.
  5. High levels of homocysteine (normal level 5-15 micromol per litre) increases the chances of blood clotting, which can cause a stroke. Only 5 micromol rise increases the risk of stroke by two times. Vitamin B12 and B6 and folic acid are shown to reduce homocysteine level by 38% and the risk of stroke by 20-30%. Vitamin B12 is available in dairy products, cottage cheese, soybean, legumes, etc.

The content on this website is reviewed regularly and is updated when new information is made available. The information provided is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your Doctor.


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The early warning signs of stroke are given on this page.