Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke, making it the second leading cause of death among people above the age of 60 and the 5th leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 59 years old. This is just one part of the story. Having a stroke increases your risk of having another by more than 40% within 5 years. How to lower the odds of having a recurrent stroke? Read along this guide.
Be the first to spot signs and symptoms
Every minute of delay in seeking emergency help after having a stroke is critical, as this would risk losing 1.9 million neurons, which has its implications on speech, movement, and memory. For such reasons, it is very important to familiarize yourself with the most common signs and symptoms that would require attention. These include:
- § Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg, arm, or face, as noticed by the inability to smile evenly or having a leg or arm drift downwards when asked to be elevated
- § Sudden confusion, trouble understanding, slurred speech, and the inability to repeat simple sentences
- § Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- § Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- § Sudden severe headache with no known cause
For women, additional signs and symptoms include difficulty breathing, hiccups, confusion, chest pain, headaches, vomiting, and dizziness.
Take serious action against risk factors
While you cannot turn back the hands of time, you can at least prevent the occurrence of a second stroke. Below are a few guidelines from the National Stroke Association:
- § Put out your cigarette, as smoking doubles the risk of another stroke.
- § Lower your numbers, as people with high blood pressure have a 1.5 higher risk of another stroke.
- § Keep blood cholesterol under control, as it blocks normal flow of blood to the brain and can cause a stroke.
- § Manage diabetes, as it increases the risk of stroke up to 4 times.
- § Eat a healthy diet low in calories, saturated fats, trans-fats, cholesterol, and alcohol… and increase physical activity to cut-down your risk of another stroke.
- § Manage atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat, as it increases stroke risk by 5 times.
Compliance to medical prescription matters
Make sure you adhere to the medications prescribed to you in order to recover from stroke and prevent its recurrence. Roughly 25% of stroke survivors fail to fully adhere to the prescription within the first 3 months when the risk of another stroke is at its highest.