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Can You Tell If You are Having A Stroke?

Suggested Reading:
Blood Pressure Numbers and What They Mean
Cholesterol Numbers and What They Mean

How do you recognize the symptoms of stroke? Awareness could reduce the damaging effects of a stroke, or even save your life. Most people can easily identify the warning signs of this dangerous development"

1. Sudden, severe headache with no identifiable cause; often referred to as "the worst headache of your life."

2. Numbness, weakness or paralysis of one side of the body in the face, arm or leg.

3. Trouble speaking or understanding other's' speech.

4. Sudden loss or blurring of vision.

5. Inexplicable sudden dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination - especially when combined with the previous signsof stroke.

Some circumstances can make you more susceptible to stroke. Increased risk factors include: being 55 or older; smoking; high cholesterol; diabetes; obesity; lack of exercise; a recent heart attack; atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat); hypertension; damaged heart valve(s); carotid artery disease; excessive use of decongestants; excessive alcohol consumption. Various blood components have also been shown to increase the susceptibility of stroke. These components are lipoproteins, fibrinogens and homocysteines.

Lipoproteins carry fat - particularly cholesterol - through the blood stream. These are the high and low-density lipoproteins (HDL's and LDL's). In the Copenhagen Heart Study of 693 stroke victims, it was learned that triglyceride levels were directly linked to nonhemorrhagic stroke. This means that the higher your triglyceride levels the greater your risk for this type of stroke.

Having a high level of fibrinogens in the blood (protein that gets converted into fibrin; fibrin is essential in the blood clotting process) has been shown to be an even stronger risk factor for stroke than cholesterol. This is thought to be due to the fact that the higher these levels, the slower the blood moves triggering plaque formation. According to a study done on 140 stroke victims, the ones whom had higher levels of fibrinogens had more arterial blockage.

Homocysteine is an amino acid naturally produced from the metabolic processing of protein. Protein intoxication can occur, however, when there is a lack of sufficient enzymes in the body to convert homocysteine to cytathionine, another amino acid. When this happens, homocysteine levels in the body become exceedingly high and begin destroying the cells and tissues of the arteries. If not detected and treated, this process can cause the degeneration of the arteries, bringing the onset of heart disease.

Once you have fallen victim to stroke you are in an increased risk category. Knowing the warning signs can help decrease your risk of further stroke damage.

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