Answers to your most basic questions on stroke from A/Prof Deidre De Silva from the National Neuroscience Institute.
If you are unsure of any of these, you can ask your doctor or another member of your healthcare team to provide you with specific details regarding your stroke.
1. What type of stroke did I suffer from?
Stroke is a condition that occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain. When blood supply is cut off, brain cells lose their functions and this causes the signs and symptoms of stroke.
There are two main types of stroke. Haemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood leaks out of the blood vessel into the brain tissue; and ischaemic stroke when a clot blocks a blood vessel and stops blood supply to an area of the brain. You should know which type of stroke you suffered.
2. What caused my stroke?
You should have a discussion with your doctor regarding the cause of your stroke. There are many causes of stroke. Ischaemic stroke may be caused by blockage of a large or small artery, clot migration from the heart and other less common causes. Haemorrhagic stroke may be due to weakening of blood vessels due to long-standing high blood pressure, blood vessel malformations and other less common causes.
Knowing the cause of your stroke will give you a better understanding of how to reduce the risk of another stroke. In addition to knowing the cause of your stroke, you should ask your doctor to tell you your risk factors for stroke. These may include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking.
3. What can I do to decrease my risk of getting another stroke?
The strategies to reduce your risk of stroke depend on the cause and risk factors of your stroke. You should ask your doctor what specific measures can be taken in your case to reduce your chances of getting another stroke.
These may include medications, lifestyle modifications and in some instances interventional or surgical procedures. Stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, should be tightly controlled to decrease your chances of getting another stroke. This would involve a good diet, regular exercise, abstinence from smoking and taking medications as advised.