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Cerebral Stroke is a leading cause of serious disability in the US. Each year, as high as almost 800,000 people suffer from a stroke, 700,000 of which are first-timers and in 150,000 cases, its a recurrence. But there are ways to prevent it if you are careful about a few things in your daily life.

Here at Bright Side, we’ve enlisted a few signs you should not miss to prevent an upcoming stroke.

Having a stroke is similar to a heart attack, but in this case, it attacks your brain. Actually, a cerebral stroke happens when some parts of the brain are interrupted and that makes our body unable to function normally. The affected part of the brain needs urgent medical attention as its important for the brain to get a continuous supply of oxygen to be able to function normally. The symptoms of a stroke usually develop quickly but it can sometimes take hours or even days to notice that something is wrong. So, if you think that you may be experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important not to ignore it, even if some of them don’t seem too serious.

1. High blood pressure

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High blood pressure can lead to severe problems like a stroke by damaging the brain nerves or weakening the blood vessel and leading to a leak or rupture. Apart from that, high blood pressure is the reason for clot formation in the bloodstream and leading them to the brain, causing a stroke in the process.

2. Vision problems

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Stroke can cause double vision, loss of vision in one eye, or blurred vision. When about 1,300 people during a survey in the UK were asked, they all remembered blurred vision/vision problems as a strong indicator.

3. Numbness on one side of the body — face, hands, or legs

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It is common to have numbness or weakness in the face, an arm, or a leg on either side of the body. In some cases, there can also be paralysis on the opposite side of where the stroke occurred in the brain.

4. Dizziness or fatigue without a reason

In a study, it is shown that vertigo and dizziness is also a common factor among patients who had a stroke. The state of confusion could be the result of the affected brain side.

5. A sudden migraine or a severe headache

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During a stroke, the blood flow to the brain is either blocked or cut off due to an interruption caused in the bloodstream. That can cause a vessel tear or damage resulting in a very sudden migraine or a headache.

6. Stiffness in the neck or shoulder pain

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A ruptured blood vessel in the brain can cause a stiff neck or shoulder. If you are unable to touch your chin to your chest (considering you’re not obese or have any other condition), go and see a doctor immediately.

Who is at risk here?

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According to a report by NCBI, these are the people who are more likely to have a stroke: People with high blood pressure — A blood pressure is considered to be high if it’s 140/ 90 mmHg or above. Age and Gender — Older men are more likely to have a stroke than a young person or women. Smoking — Smoking can affect the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain and it can also cause a lot of damage to the blood vessels resulting in high BP. Diabetes — Diabetes is caused by a deficiency of the hormone called insulin that regulates the sugar level in the body. When there is a lack of insulin, the sugar won’t be able to reach to the parts of the body where the energy is needed — like the brain, for example. Heart Disease — Heart disease can cause blood clots, sometimes resulting in the interruption of the blood flow which can lead to a stroke.

Other risk factors:

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Alcohol and drug abuse Obesity Junk food/unhealthy diet Depression/anxiety Lack of physical activity Any other neurological problem

What to do in the case of an emergency?

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If you’re alone: Call 911 or your local emergency number. Don’t drive to the hospital by yourself. Do not eat or drink anything. Don’t be anxious — your chances of survival are as high as 60%-70 % if you’re below 60 years old. If you’re supporting a patient: If you’re someone who’s helping a patient, keep them on their side with their head elevated. Sometimes, they might vomit so be prepared to support the head. Speak in a calm manner and make sure they’re not anxious. Observe the patient carefully and notify the emergency operator about the status.

Do you know more about the signs and symptoms of a stroke? Feel free to share what you know in the comments and make sure you share the article with the people you care about!

Illustrated by Daniil Shubin for BrightSide.me