The Many Sides of a Stroke

On World Stroke Day today, doctors in the city tell us why women are at a higher risk of getting a stroke as this year’s theme is ‘I am Woman’

Published: 29th October 2015 04:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th October 2015 04:22 AM   |  A+A-


HYDERABAD: Stroke is increasingly manifesting in younger population due to stress, changing dietary habits and hectic lifestyle. According to a survey, there is a gender gap in stroke education too. Despite the fact that women tend be more aware of the stroke signs and treatments than men, women delay going to the hospital after stroke onset and are less likely to be aware of the 4.5 hour window for stroke treatment.


One in five women prone to stroke!

stroke1.jpgWomen have a higher stroke mortality rate than men. Women have high stroke risk factors. Some stroke risk factors such as diabetes, atrial fibrillation, depression, and hypertension occur more frequently in women, and many more stroke risk factors are sex-specific to women, such as pregnancy, preeclampsia, use of birth control pills (especially in the case of women with high blood pressure), hormone replacement after menopause, hormone changes, and gestational diabetes. As a result, one in five women is at risk for stroke, as opposed to one in six men.

  • Some stroke subtypes, such as cerebral vein thrombosis and subarachnoid hemorrhage, are much more common in women.
  • The burden of care giving falls predominantly on women when a family person is affected by stroke. Women caregivers of spouses have a decrease in mental health after becoming caregivers. 
  • Women are more likely to be living alone and widowed before stroke; they are more often institutionalised after stroke and have poorer recovery from stroke than men.


Risk Factor

The common risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, increased blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake and heart disease. The other risk factors include old age, sedentary lifestyle and mental stress.


You need to know

Stroke, also known as cerebrovascular disease, occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it starts to die. The extent and location of the brain cell damage determines the severity of the stroke, which can range from minimal to catastrophic. Because different areas of the brain control different functions, the specific effects of a particular stroke depend on which area of the brain is injured. A small stroke in a critical area of the brain can be permanently disabling. Because brain cells do not regenerate, damage to the nerve cells is permanent. Millions of brain cells die each minute a stroke is untreated. Ruptured blood vessels cause hemorrhagic or bleeding strokes.


Warning signs

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination


Types of Stroke

There are two types of stroke caused by an isolated blood vessel that hampers blood flow to the brain:

  • That where the vessel clogs within - ischemic stroke
  • Where the vessel ruptures, causing blood to leak into the brain - hemorrhagic stroke


Disorders after Stroke

PAIN: Paralysed shoulder muscles are not able to help tendons keep the upper end of the arm in the shoulder joint. As a result the arm drops from the joint which is very painful.


DEPRESSION: Depression after stroke, as after any severe illness, is very common, often goes without diagnosis, reduces the patient’s capacity for rehabilitation, and impairs his/her quality of life.


COGNITIVE DECLINE: Stroke can lead to cognitive decline, and it is even more common after a recurrent stroke. This is also the case after recurrent subclinical strokes which are often not diagnosed due to missing classical symptoms of stroke.


SPASTICITY: Spasticity is like a “wicked charley horse.” Brain injury from stroke sometimes causes paralyzed muscles to involuntarily contract (shorten or flex) after trying to move a limb. This creates stiffness and tightness.


Post Stroke Care

Suvitas, located in Hyderabad, will launch new initiatives to mark this day and aims to increase awareness of post stroke care and how you can lead a full and happy life. Why Suvitas? “We take a very holistic and scientific approach to help our residents towards early and effective recovery in an empowered manner. For a majority of patients, surgery and hospitalisation is just the beginning of a long-term healing process; and rehabilitation is the vital link in attaining the best possible result. We work in a concerted manner and provide our patients with targeted, customised treatment plans that improve their health and quality of life,” says Bipin Pendyala, founder, director.

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