Stroke: Never Too Young

By X. W. Lim, Occupational Therapist, Yayasan Kebajikan SSL Stroke

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the arteries of the brain is interrupted. It can be caused by a blood clot blocking the arteries, or when the arteries burst. When these happen, oxygen and nutrient cannot reach the brain area, hence the brain cells die off.

The most common signs and symptoms during a stroke include sudden weakness of the face, arm and leg of one side of the body. Other than that, one may feel sudden numbness of one side of the body, sudden confusion, sudden severe headache, loss of balance or coordination, and sudden blurred vision.

Strokes happen more commonly in elderly, who are 65 years old and above. However, one can have stroke at ANY age, including children and babies.

RISK FACTORS

The number one risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Other risk factors include diabetes mellitus, heart disease, high cholesterol level, excessive smoking or alcohol consumption, obesity, previous stroke or history of minor stroke, stressful life and excessive use of oral contraceptives in female. These are modifiable risk factors.

Factors which cannot be modified include gender, increased age, family history and congenital blood and heart disorder.

YOUTH AND STROKE

With the rising instances of childhood obesity, unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking, drinking and increased stress in young adults, which then leads to high blood pressure and hardening in the arteries, more children and young adults are suffering from strokes today.

Some young girls are also being put on birth control pills at an earlier age. The estrogen in birth control pills will increase the risk of stroke in women and may be related to increased risk of blood clots.

For infants who suffer stroke, the main causes include arteriovenous malformation, injury during birth, blood clot disorders, heart disease, premature delivery, and infection of the brain.

SURVIVING STROKE

Every stroke survivor is unique in terms of symptoms, disabilities and recovery. However, most young stroke patients may have better chance of recovery compared to the elderly because they have less health issues as elderly patients.

Still,young stroke patients may have poorer quality of life, as the stroke is not expected at this age. This becomes worse when the patient is the breadwinner of the family, or when he or she leads a very successful career and family life before getting stroke. Some patients may develop post-stroke depression.

A second stroke is possible in future if no preventive measures are taken by the patients after the first stroke. This can be prevented by first identifying the major risk factors that cause the first stroke, and then try to monitor or minimise them. The risk of a heart attack is definitely higher in stroke patients compared to others.

To prevent getting a stroke, it is essential tomonitor your blood pressure, have healthy glucose and cholesterol levels, quit smoking and drinking, manage stress levels and exercise regularly.

POST-STROKE REHABILITATION

Neurology rehabilitation is the process of relearning skills that were lost from injuries of the central nervous system. SSL offers comprehensive rehabilitation for all ages at subsidized rates.

Yayasan Kebajikan SSL Strok

Lot PT-39480, Jalan Industri PBP 3,

Taman Industri Pusat Bandar Puchong,

47100 Puchong, Selangor.

Tel         : 03-5882 9181/5882 9115

Fax        : 03-5882 6255

Website: www.sausenglum.com.my

Email   :customercare@sausenglum.org

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