【專家評論／Dr. Chris Cheng】
What is a stroke? — Stroke is the term doctors use when a part of the brain dies after the blood supply to a part of the brain is cut off. Strokes occur in two forms: (1) When an artery in the brain closes off, and (2) When an artery in the brain starts bleeding.
How do strokes affect people? — According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stroke is the second leading cause of death for people over the age of 60. Each year nearly 6 million people worldwide die from stroke. One person is affected by stroke every 6 seconds.
How can you tell if someone is having a stroke? — It is very important to know the signs of stroke:
- Face – Does the person’s face look uneven or droop on one side?
- Arm – Does the person have weakness or numbness in one or both arms? Does one arm drift down if the person tries to hold both arms out?
- Speech – Is the person having trouble speaking? Does his or her speech sound strange?
- Time – If you notice any of these stroke signs, call for an ambulance. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chances of recovery.
What is a “TIA”, or “mini-stroke”? — A TIA is like a stroke, but it does not permanently damage the brain. TIAs happen when an artery in the brain gets clogged or closes off and then reopens on its own. This can happen if a blood clot forms and then moves away or dissolves.
Even though TIAs do not cause lasting symptoms, they are serious. If you have a TIA, you are at high risk of having a stroke, and need urgent medical attention. Do not ignore the symptoms of a stroke even if they go away!