Stroke symptoms are considered a medical emergency and if you suspect someone is having one, you should phone 999 immediately.
The two main types of stroke are ischaemic strokes and haemorrhagic strokes. Ischaemic strokes occur when a blood clot blocked the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. A haemorrhagic strokes happens when a blood vessel within the skull bursts and bleeds into and around the brain.
The causes of both types of stroke are similar. You’re at higher risk if you smoke, have high blood pressure, are obese, have diabetes, or have excessive alcohol intake.
A massive stroke can be fatal, as it affects large portions of the brain. So what can you do to prevent having one in the first place?
Alongside stopping smoking, staying a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, drinking less alcohol, and doing more exercise, the Stroke Association recommends making six diet changes.
It explains: “Even making small changes to your eating habits can make a difference to your overall health, particularly if you have been told that you are at risk of having a stroke or TIA.
“Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to lower your blood pressure and control diabetes.
“Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can be absorbed from foods. If there is too much cholesterol in your blood it can cause fatty deposits to build up in your arteries and restrict the flow of blood. However, eating well can reduce your cholesterol level.”
So what should your diet consist of? The charity recommends six diet changes.
Eat more fruit and vegetables
The first, is to eat more fruit and vegetables. These are an important source of vitamins and minerals and you should aim to have five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Eat more fibre
Eating more fibre is also key. It says: “Foods that are high in fibre help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood, so when choosing starchy foods, go for wholegrain cereals, brown rice or grains such as whole wheat couscous.”
Eat healthy protein
The charity recommends eating two portions of fish every week, particular oily fish like mackerel, sardines or salmon. These contain omega-3 fatty acids which can prevent blood clots and lower blood pressure.
Vegetarian or vegan sources of protein include tofu, textured vegetable protein and tempeh.
Cut down on fat and sugar
The Stroke Association explains: “We all need small amounts of fat and sugar in our diets, but too much can lead to weight problems. Food that has been fried in butter, oil or ghee will contain high amounts of fat. Use vegetable, nut and olive-based oils instead.”
Try new ways of cooking
Steaming, boiling and grilling are all healthier recommendations. Frying adds extra fat.
Watch the salt
Too much salt can increase your blood pressure, according to the charity.
It adds: “You should not eat more than 6g (or a teaspoon) of salt per day.”
Stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word F.A.S.T.
The ‘F’ stands for face – this may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
‘A’ is for arms – the person with suspected stoke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
’S’ stands for speech – it may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.
’T’ is for time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
But do you know the signs of a mini stroke?
Source : EXPRESS