When the blood supply to a portion of the brain is interrupted or diminished, brain tissue cannot receive oxygen and nutrients, which results in an ischemic stroke. In minutes, brain cells start to degenerate.
On World Stroke Day tomorrow, let’s take this opportunity to increase public awareness of the risk factors and symptoms as well as the seriousness and high rates of stroke. This day is also a chance to push for national, regional, and international decision-makers to take the necessary steps to enhance stroke prevention, access to immediate care, and support for survivors and caregivers.
“There are many different causes of ischemic stroke in young adults and adolescents, and these causes vary depending on age and location. The same modifiable risk factors apply to groups of younger and older adults. However, these risk factors are not equally prevalent in these two age groups. The main risk factors for elderly people are hypertension, heart disease (including atrial fibrillation), reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, and diabetes mellitus. Sickle cell disease, OC pills, DIC, leukaemia, pregnancy, and protein-losing enteropathy are the hematologic risk factors,” says Dr Avinash Kumar, Senior Neurologist, Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad.
There are specific risk factors for stroke in certain age groups even though there is also overlap. “Hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, smoking, obesity, sleep apnea are risk factors across the age. Whereas anemia, genetic risk factors, valvular heart disease, inflammatory conditions like SLE, or autoantibodies like APLA syndrome, dissection of the vessels etc increases the risk in younger population,” says Dr.Guruprasad, Senior Consultant, Neurologist, Manipal Hospital, Yeshwanthpur.
In elderly above 75yrs, atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) is an important risk factor for cardioembolic stroke. This aspect is important to fine tune the investigations according to the known risk factors in the given age group.
Due to the presence of necrotic cells, the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and the production of inflammatory cytokines even within neurons, brain ischemia causes inflammatory reactions. CADASIL, Fabris Disease, Homo Cystinuria, Menkes Disease, Melas. “As you get older, your chance of having a stroke increases. Age increases one’s risk of having a stroke. The risk of having a stroke roughly doubles every ten years after the age of 55," adds Dr Kumar. Stroke strikes frequently among older adults, but it also happens to many people under the age of 65.
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