Roofers at Risk for Stroke

Tuesday, 24 May, 2011

A stroke is when blood supply is cut off to the brain due to a blockage (ischemia) or rupture (hemorrhage) to a blood vessel within the brain. A stroke is a medical emergency that could result in permanent damage to the brain, paralysis to parts of the body, or even death.

Strokes can affect men and women who are typically 55 years and older. Other risk factors that can increase chances of having a stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history of stroke, cigarette smoking (and exposure to second hand smoke), diabetes, being overweight, lack of exercise, using birth control pills, heavy (or binge) drinking, head injury, using drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines. African Americans are also more likely to have strokes than other races. Lastly, because the risk of stroke increases with age and women tend to have a longer life span than men, more women die from stroke each year.

There are two categories of stroke—ischemic and hemorrhagic. The most common is ischemic strokes as it affects 90% of stroke victims. Narrow or blocked arteries cause blood flow to be drastically reduced and cause the brain to be oxygen deprived. Two types of ischemic strokes occur. Thrombotic stroke is a type of ischemic stroke that happens when a blood clot (thrombus) forms within one of the arteries that take oxygenated blood to the brain. Embolic stroke happens when a blot clot forms in a blood vessel away from your brain (most times in the heart). The clot travels through the blood stream and lodges in a narrow brain artery.

Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a hemorrhage (bleeding) occurs from leaking or rupturing of a brain blood vessel. In an intracerebral hemorrhage, a blood vessel within the brain bursts and spills into the surrounding brain tissue. Brain cells are damaged due to oxygen deprivation. High blood pressure typically causes this type of brain bleed. Subarachnoid hemorrhages happen when a bleed starts in an artery near the surface of the brain and spills into the space between the patient’s skull and brain. This type of bleed is signaled by a severe “thunderclap” headache and is typically caused by the bursting of an aneurysm which may have been lying dormant in the patient since birth.

A key component to surviving a stroke is to recognize the symptoms associated with stroke. One or more of the following symptoms may be a caution to seek medical attention: trouble with walking (stumbling or loss of balance), difficulty swallowing, trouble speaking and understanding, paralysis or numbness on one side of the body or face, trouble seeing out of one or both of your eyes, or a severe headache (accompanied with vomiting, dizziness, or loss of consciousness). The patient should contain 911 or go straight to the hospital without delay. The longer the patient waits the more danger or damage could be occurring. Early detection and preventative measures are what save lives with regards to stroke.

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