Every year, around 16,000 people in Switzerland suffer from a stroke. A stroke happens when a blood clot clogs an artery in the brain, or a blood vessel ruptures and causes a brain haemorrhage. Parts of the brain are insufficiently, or no longer, supplied with blood. As a result, the affected area of the brain lacks oxygen and nutrients. The nerve cells in the affected area are rapidly damaged and perish.
There are certain risks for cardiovascular diseases that you cannot influence. These include age, gender, hereditary disposition or an unnoticed heart defect. However, most risk factors can be minimised or improved by adopting a health-conscious behaviour.
What do doctors recommend in order to identify risks and for prevention?
Blood pressure: Control measurement every three to five years for all men and women, beginning at age 18. Annually, in case of personal risk factors, such as severe obesity.
Cholesterol: Control measurements every five years for men between the ages of 35 and 65, for women between the ages of 45 and 65. For high-risk patients (e.g. cardiovascular diseases in the family), at least every five years beginning at age 20, or as recommended by the doctor.
Blood glucose: Every three years for men and women over the age of 45; for high-risk patients (e.g. diabetes in the family, high blood pressure, severe overweight), as recommended by the doctor.
Consistent medication therapy in the event of these three risk factors is central to reducing the risk of stroke.
Treatment of pre-existing disorders (e.g. arteriosclerosis of the cerebral arteries, cardiac arrhythmia or coagulation disorders).
Quit smoking, reduce excess weight, create a balance between private and professional life with sufficient rest and exercise, eat healthily. Take these issues to heart. If necessary, have a specialist support you.
Only just one in five strokes is announced by warning signs, such as temporary visual, speech, sensory and balance disorders, weakness or paralysis and dizziness. A stroke is an emergency that must be treated immediately. Every minute that goes to waste raises the risk of death, disability, and the need for long-term care. After certain time limits, some therapy methods are no longer possible or have weaker effect.
In case of suspicion or specific signs of a stroke, the emergency number 144 has to be called immediately– whether it is by you, your relatives, or someone else – and it is important to follow the instructions given.
These are the key points of treatment – depending on the cause, the start of therapy, and the state of health:
To restore and secure the flow of blood to the brain by means of medication and arterial access
In some instances with brain haemorrhages, operations are performed to treat excess fluid causing increased intracranial pressure, and to stop the source of arterial bleeding.
To restore and support bodily functions such as respiration, heart rhythm, blood pressure, body temperature as well as oxygen saturation and blood sugar level
To avoid complications
Stroke patients as well as suspected stroke patients should be treated immediately in a hospital with a stroke unit.
Strokes can be mild or severe, they can leave severe disabilities or none at all, and they can affect only a single capacity or multiple ones. The rehabilitation of a stroke begins 24 hours after the event – first in the hospital, and then later in a neurological rehabilitation clinic.
In the event of a stroke with distinct symptoms, rehabilitation professionals will work with you to remedy as much as possible limitations such as numbness and paralysis of the face or limbs, speech and comprehension disorders, and swallowing difficulties. In the process, specialists in physiotherapy, ergotherapy, and speech therapy work together with doctors and psychologists, since depression and grief are also common.
It is important to prevent complications and the risk of further strokes. This is something you can effectively support with a healthy lifestyle and the conscientious intake of medication for risk prevention.
Enter your vital signs (e.g. blood pressure) and medication (e.g. blood thinning tablets) diligently into your medication passport.
You can save on costs if you choose generics and purchase your medication via a mail order pharmacy. Ask the doctor treating you for generic medication, especially when the doctor writes a new prescription.
Living with a chronic illness requires very good self-management in order to be able to successfully master the various challenges in everyday life. concordiaCoach can support you in finding good solutions.
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