Stroke myths abound. Stroke is a little understood disease- even in ” advanced” societies such as the USA.
Following are some common misunderstandings about Stroke in the US. Even in India, pretty much similar prevail. Add on top of it superstitions , ” neem hakims” , Fakirs etc. and the situation worsens.
Myth : Stroke can not be prevented
Not true. 80 % of strokes can be prevented and many, many have clear ” markers” beforehand such as high blood pressure.
Positive diet and lifestyle changes, as well as regular exercise and quitting smoking can all decrease stroke risk significantly.
Stroke is truly an ” equal opportunity” disease- striking sometimes even in the Womb ! About 25 % strokes happen to people under 65 and 10 % to those under 45. As lifestyles change and pressures of living increase, these numbers are also rising.
Myth: Recovery only happens in the first few months after a stroke occurs.
Indeed time shortly after stroke is very important – some set an outer limit of three years for what recovery is possible. But recovery continues throughout the lifetime of a Stroke Survivor and continuing physical, speech, and occupational therapy for years after a stroke can still yield positive results.
However, the first six hours after onset of stroke ( termed as Golden Hours) are very important and if proper treatment is initiated within this time there can be very good recovery.
Myth: Stroke happens in the heart.
Strokes occur when blood supply to a portion of the brain is cut off. This could be due various reasons. It is confused with a heart disease since Stroke patients many times have high blood pressure as well. But the treatment , specialist doctors for Stroke is entirely DIFFERENT from that for heart ailments. A brain stroke is medically termed as a CVA ( cerebrovascular attack) or a cerebrovascular stroke.
A heart attack is also referred medically as Cardiac Stroke many times. Also, there is a strong link between a cardiac stroke and cerebrovascular stroke, a cardiac stroke increases the risk of a CVA.
Myth: If you’re not in pain, it’s not a stroke.
Many stroke patients don’t feel any pain at all. The more common symptoms include dizziness and loss of balance, difficulty speaking, numbness in extremities, and trouble understanding those around you.
Myth: Strokes don’t run in the family.
The risk of having a stroke increases for those with a family history of stroke.
Myth: Strokes are rare.
There are about 7 million stroke survivors in the United States and stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the country.
BUT, worldwide, Stroke is now the SECOND leading cause of Death, responsible for about 9 percent deaths .
In India, as mentioned in this post, deaths due Stroke are 6.5 times more than than due HIV/AIDS ! So certainly a LOT needs to be done to create Stroke Awareness as well.
Myth: Small strokes don’t need medical attention.
Every stroke requires immediate medical attention. Prompt treatment could be the difference between life and death and making a full recovery versus having severe, long-term effects.
“Small” strokes are medically termed as Transient Ischemic Attacks ( TIA). If not attended to, they may lead to a massive stroke leading to irreparable damage
Myth: Stroke survivors have no life for themselves.
Although many survivors live with the effects of stroke for the rest of their lives, many make a strong recovery and live a fulfilling life.
Please DO visit visit our Inspirations Section where we feature some inspiring Stories of both Stroke Survivors as well as Caregivers. And if you have any, let us know in the Comments section there and we will talk to you.
( Some inputs for the above article were taken from :
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