What the risks are and how we can help to stay healthy.
The WHO calls it the "epidemic of the 21st century", and in fact stroke has overtaken heart attacks in many countries. In Austria, for example, around 250,000 people suffer an "insult" in the technical language every year. Most of them recover, because thanks to immediate treatment, every second person does not suffer any permanent disability; on the other hand, according to the statistics, every fifth person becomes dependent on nursing care. In general, however, a stroke is not an inevitable fate. Even if it is often difficult in our hectic times, with a conscious lifestyle, healthy diet and regular exercise we can make a significant contribution to keeping the risk of having a stroke low.
Triggers & risk factors
If a blockage occurs in a blood vessel leading to or running in the brain, the nerve cells are no longer supplied with oxygen and die. Besides a brain haemorrhage, this is the main cause of a stroke. As a direct result of the disturbed blood supply, the typical symptoms appear: Paralysis symptoms on the opposite side of the affected brain area, speech, consciousness and visual disturbances (double images), severe headaches, dizziness and numbness. If these symptoms disappear after a few minutes, it may be a so-called "stroke", which means that about one in four strokes is imminent. In this case, too, you should go to hospital immediately. The main risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure and smoking, especially in combination with the contraceptive pill. Lack of exercise and being overweight not only increase blood pressure, but also lead to diabetes and hardening of the arteries, which further promotes circulatory disorders. Other risk factors are increased alcohol consumption and high blood fat levels. Age also plays a role, because from the age of 40 the elasticity of the vessels decreases and the arteries calcify more easily. It is therefore all the more important that we take even better care of ourselves then!
Switching to a more relaxed lifestyle with a daily schedule that allows for rest breaks is an important stroke prophylaxis. Regular exercise and a wholesome diet, preferably organic, normalise our blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. What is often underestimated is the effect of our attitude to life on our health. If we manage to let go of old grudges, take life more lightly and with more humour, we make a significant contribution to preventing stroke.