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Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Australia yet almost half of the population are unaware of what causes stroke or how to prevent it. Even fit healthy people can suffer a stroke. Symptoms may include numbness in parts of body such as hand, tongue or bottom. It usually affects one side more than the other. An ischemic stroke is a blockage of blood vessels to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is a rupture of a brain blood vessel which kills the surrounding brain cells due to lack of oxygen (infarct). Prompt hospital treatment after a stroke can reduce the risk of death or disability by up to 25%. Treatment can involve small doses of aspirin after a stroke. A relatively new treatment for ischemic strokes is tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) which has proven more effective as it breaks down blood clots. However it must be given within 3 hours of an attack and can't be taken by those who are pregnant, have hypertension or have recently had surgery. Thus, only 2 or 3 % of stroke patients may take advantage of this treatment. Only 10% of stroke victims get to a hospital within 3 hours because many are unaware of the symptoms. 50% of strokes occur in people under 75 and 5% occurs in those under 45. Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, smoking and alcohol consumption. Obviously some of these factors are also linked to diet and exercise.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by The Weekend Australian - The Stroke Foundation
About: People need to be aware of stroke symptoms and prevention
Date: 4 December 2004
Source: The Weekend Australian - The Stroke Foundation
Author: Jane Drayton
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