Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke can have devastating effects on your health, and without the appropriate medical care and testing, the damage incurred may be permanent. Or, it may lead to cognitive or physical impairment. At Cardiovascular Institute of the South, we want you to be aware of the effects of a stroke and when you should consult with a cardiologist. Here’s what you need to know to help prevent a negative health event.
What Are the Effects of Stroke on the Brain?
A patient can experience a variety of effects depending on where the stroke occurs in the brain. A stroke in the cerebrum, or either side of the brain, can cause memory loss and paralysis of the affected side. If an individual suffers a stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain, they may experience vision issues or changes in behavior marked by quick, questioning actions. A left hemisphere stroke can affect one’s verbal abilities or lead to slowed behavior. A stroke on either side of the cerebrum may also affect one’s emotions or perception, sexual abilities, motor skills, and more.
A cerebellum stroke is the least common type of stroke. Only 2% of stroke sufferers experience a cerebellum stroke, but it can be highly fatal. Suffering a stroke in the cerebellum, or the top and front of the brain, can affect motor skills due to its connection to the spinal cord. A patient who has suffered a cerebellum stroke may experience problems walking, balancing, or with general dizziness. Headaches and nausea can also be common effects of this type of stroke.
If a stroke occurs in the brainstem at the base of the skull, essential functions can be negatively affected. This includes one’s ability to breathe, regulate temperature, eat, and communicate. A brainstem stroke may cause problems with motor function, coma, paralysis, and even death.
What Should I Do if I Experience Symptoms of a Stroke?
Identifying the symptoms of a stroke is vital to your wellness. Your symptoms may last up to a day, but the effects of the stroke on your health may lead to future strokes or disability. If you are questioning if you may have suffered a stroke, look for possible indicators including:
- Issues with balance
- Drooping facial features
- Cognitive issues
- Mood changes
If you have experienced the symptoms of a stroke, seek medical attention immediately. Those at risk or who suspect that you may have suffered a silent stroke without symptoms, speak with a cardiologist or healthcare provider right away to assess the possible effects of your stroke. Together, you can determine the right steps to treat damage and prevent future health events.
How Can You Prevent Strokes?
Genetics can put you at greater risk of suffering a stroke. If you have a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease, you should seek advice from a cardiologist, like the specialists at Cardiovascular Institute of the South. But your lifestyle choices can play a large role in your chances of suffering a stroke, as well. Take a look at your eating, exercising, and social habits to see where you can put preventative measures in place.
1. Manage your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
High blood pressure and cholesterol have been linked to a greater risk of stroke. Due to the extra strain both can place on your blood vessels, they can cause vessels in the brain to burst, resulting in a hemorrhagic stroke. Similarly, cholesterol can lead to the development of blood clots in the brain. When fatty deposits from high cholesterol levels form blockages in your carotid arteries, those blockages can inhibit blood and oxygen flow to the brain and cause ischemic strokes or ministrokes. Manage your risk with physical activity, a healthy diet, limiting your alcohol consumption, and monitoring your health with your cardiovascular specialists.
2. Watch your salt and artificial sugar intake.
Salt and artificial sugars can have highly damaging impacts on your health. Sodium found in added seasoning or built into prepackaged foods can increase your blood pressure. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. And as for artificial sugar, some sweeteners have been linked to dementia and other cognitive issues as well as an increased risk of stroke. If you’re craving something sweet, reach for fruits in moderation and leave diet drinks and artificial sweeteners behind.
3. Eat well and exercise!
A general rule for improving your health is to make sure that you have the right levels of nutrition and movement incorporated into your week. A balanced diet of vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can help you to consume a healthy amount of vitamins, fiber, and minerals each day. And with at least 30 minutes of moderate daily exercise, you can also promote better stamina, better blood flow, less stress, and a decreased risk of strokes.
4. Cut out smoking.
Smoking introduces a variety of chemicals to your system, including nicotine and carbon monoxide. These chemicals impact the body by decreasing the oxygen in your blood and increasing your heartbeat and blood pressure. These factors can contribute to negative health events, such as heart attack and stroke. If you need help quitting tobacco, reach out to our expert cessation team to learn about tobacco cessation programs.
Schedule an Appointment with a Local Cardiologist Today!
Our cardiologists make your health and wellbeing a priority. Whether you are at risk of a stroke or living with the effects of stroke, our specialists are here to help. By providing you with valuable education on cardiovascular health, determining your level of cardiovascular risk, and introducing you to treatments and lifestyle habits that can promote a healthier lifestyle, we teach you how to take the right steps towards a healthier future. Contact us today to learn more about our facility and schedule an appointment with our world-class cardiovascular specialists. Reach out to your nearest clinic location to get started.