What is a Stroke?
By Yuan Cheng
One of the most common/fatal cardiovascular diseases
Broad target range
Symptom Acronym: FAST
Being one of the most common and fatal cardiovascular diseases, strokes affect 795,000 Americans each year at a rate of roughly 1 per 40 seconds. A stroke happens when an adequate supply of blood is unable to get to the brain, leading to deaths of brain cells unable to receive nutrients. With an extremely broad target range, strokes are dangerous to people of all ages and ethnicities; it is thus important that we are educated enough on the topic to recognize and report symptoms of strokes to medical professionals before it’s too late.
Certain lifestyles (e.g. smoking, unhealthy eating habits, drinking, drug abuse) or medical conditions (high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, obesity, diabetes) can increase the risk for strokes. As a result, around 33% of U.S. adults have elevated risks of getting a stroke. Furthermore, strokes cause disproportionate numbers of death amongst Black people and Pacific Islanders. A family history of strokes or cardiovascular diseases can also cause increased risks.
In recognizing the symptoms of a stroke, the acronym FAST comes in handy. F stands for face—or more accurately, sudden facial asymmetry or numbness; A stands for arms—if someone cannot lift their arms at the same level or cannot move one of their arms, there is a large chance that they are having a stroke; S stands for slurred and unclear speech; T stands for “Time to Call 911,” which is the appropriate response to someone having a stroke. Other symptoms involve inability to stand, temporary blindness/troubled vision in one eye, or a headache.
A doctor or medical professional is always needed to treat a stroke. Medications like Antiplatelet drugs and Anticoagulants (both with core functions of preventing blood clots) are often prescribed to prevent more strokes from occurring in the future.
In 2018-19, the amount of money spent in America in areas concerning strokes is around $56.5 billion.