Prevention & Recovery

Brain attacks

Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

Brain attacks

The team of Dr. Vladimir Hachinski and his daughter Larissa, co-authors of Stroke -- A Comprehensive Guide to Brain Attacks, visited the Balance Television studios to discuss the symptoms and risk factors associated with brain attacks.

For the purposes of the book, Larissa Hachinski interviewed not only her father but other physicains working to care for stroke victims, including doctors involved in rehabilitation and speech therapists. It painted a picture of what it's like to suffer a stroke and be on the road to recovery, said the younger Hachinski.

Dr. Hachinski provided the following symtoms of stroke to Balance Television host Dr. Marla Shapiro. He described he sudden onset of symptoms as being within seconds.

SYMPTOMS OF STROKE

Sudden onset of:

• Loss of speech
• Loss or blurring of vision in one eye
• Weakness or numbness in face, arm and leg
• Difficulty with balance
• Sudden, unusual or severe headache

According to Dr. Hachinski, each of the preceding symptoms is on its own considered a medical emergency. A person needn't experience them all and anyone who suffers any of the symptoms should seek immediate medical assisstance. Just because a symptom passes, he said, doesn't mean the danger has passed.

He also shared the risk factors for stroke:

• High blood pressure
• Atrial fibrillation (continuous irregularity of the heart)
• Smoking
• Family history

While the single most important risk factor for all types of stroke is high blood pressure, smokers take heed: a woman who smokes has 11 times the risk of a non-smoker for rupturing a blood vessel in the brain.

On another note, Dr Hachinski said research within the past several years has shown that the best known way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive disorders is to control the risk factors associated with stroke.

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Brain attacks

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