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Grand River Chronicle

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Stroke Awareness: What Men Need to Know

By Dr. Ronald Lawton Director of Emergency Services


What is a stroke and how does it affect men?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to die. This can result in loss of function, such as speech, movement, vision, or memory. Stroke is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate attention. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. Men are more likely than women to have a stroke, and they tend to have strokes at a younger age. Men also have a higher risk of dying from a stroke than women.

What are the risk factors and warning signs of stroke?

Some of the risk factors for stroke are common among men, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. To reduce the risk of stroke, men should adopt a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, managing stress, and getting regular check-ups. Some of the warning signs of stroke are sudden numbness or weakness in 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, or sudden severe headache with no known cause. If you or someone you know experiences any of these signs, call 911 or get to a hospital right away. Remember the acronym FAST to help you recognize and respond to a stroke: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911.

What are the treatment options and recovery prospects for stroke?

The treatment options and recovery prospects for stroke depend on the type, location, and severity of the stroke, as well as the time of intervention. There are two main types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke is caused by a clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain, and it can be treated with clot-busting drugs or mechanical devices that remove the clot. There is a short window of opportunity to use the clot-busting drugs, so it is important to call 911 or get to an emergency department as soon as possible after symptoms begin. Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a rupture of a blood vessel in the brain, and it can be treated with surgery or medication to stop the bleeding and reduce the pressure. The sooner the treatment is started, the better the chances of survival and recovery. Recovery from stroke can be a long and challenging process, involving physical, cognitive, and emotional rehabilitation. Some of the common effects of stroke are paralysis, speech impairment, memory loss, depression, and anxiety. However, with the help of medical professionals, family, friends, and support groups, many stroke survivors can regain some or most of their abilities and enjoy a fulfilling life.