Myths and Facts About Strokes

Blocked arteries are known for causing two medical emergencies: heart attacks and strokes. While a heart attack occurs when an artery leading to the heart is blocked, a stroke occurs when an artery leading to the brain is blocked. Because of this connection, strokes are sometimes called brain attacks. Unfortunately, people tend to know more about heart attacks than strokes, leading to a lot of myths surrounding this medical emergency.

The more you know about strokes, the quicker you can seek medical attention if you spot the signs of a stroke in you or a loved one.

In an effort to spread more awareness about strokes, Dr. Henock Saint-Jacques created this guide. 

Myth: Strokes only happen to the elderly

Fact: Although your risk of having a stroke increases with age, strokes aren’t limited to just the elderly. About 15% of strokes occur in people between the ages of 15 and 50. 

Myth: There’s only one type of stroke

Fact: There are many types of strokes, including:

All strokes, regardless of the type, should be taken seriously. 

Myth: Strokes hurt

Fact: Not all strokes cause pain. Hemorrhagic strokes may cause headaches if a blood vessel bursts, but not all strokes cause headaches. Confusion, dizziness, facial drooping, and loss of coordination could be your only symptoms.

In other words, even if you’re not hurting, a stroke is still a medical emergency.

Myth: It’s impossible to tell if someone is having a stroke

Fact: You can use the FAST acronym to spot the signs of a stroke in another person. 

Note: You might also notice these symptoms in yourself. Additional symptoms of a stroke include confusion (difficulty speaking or understanding), sudden problems seeing clearly, dizziness, and headache.

Myth: Taking aspirin treats a stroke

Fact: Taking aspirin doesn’t treat a stroke. Although it’s true that 911 operators sometimes tell heart attack victims to take aspirin, the same doesn’t apply to strokes. The American Stroke Association doesn’t recommend taking aspirin during a stroke because not all strokes are caused by blocked blood vessels. (Many strokes are caused by blocked vessels, but burst vessels also cause strokes.) Taking aspirin with a burst blood vessel isn’t advisable. 

Myth: You can’t prevent strokes

Fact: You can reduce your risk of having a stroke. The best way to help prevent a stroke is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking. Healthy habits like these may reduce your risk of developing conditions that lead to strokes, as when arteries become clogged with fatty substances.

Can you prevent future strokes too? While strokes require emergency medical care, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of a future stroke. Dr. Saint-Jacques may also suggest surgery to prevent another stroke. For instance, he may recommend a carotid endarterectomy during which he removes plaque from your affected arteries. Angioplasty and stents are other options too.

Questions about strokes? Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at our East Harlem, New York, practice. You can reach us at 646-381-218 or via our website.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Should I Worry About Palpitations?

Having your heart race or pound isn’t uncommon, especially during times of intense physical activity. But is there a point when you should worry about heart palpitations? Find out here.

How Does a Nuclear Stress Test Work?

Nuclear stress tests are invaluable when it comes to treatment planning and evaluating current treatments, but how do they work? Read on to explore what nuclear stress tests do, how they work, and what you can expect during one.

Is an Irregular Heartbeat Dangerous?

The thought of an irregular heartbeat can be scary, but are they always dangerous? In this blog, we explain what are the many types and causes of irregular heartbeats and when they signal a serious issue.

The Link Between Pregnancy and Varicose Veins

If you’re expecting a baby, you might expect morning sickness or round ligament pain … but varicose veins? Unfortunately, varicose veins are a common pregnancy symptom too. Explore the link between pregnancy and varicose veins and how they’re treated.

8 Ways to Prevent High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a serious condition that can increase your risk of heart attacks, but thankfully it can be managed and even prevented with these eight lifestyle modifications. Read on to learn more.

All About Stress EKGs

Stress electrocardiograms (EKGs) can be used to confirm a diagnosis, monitor the progress of any current treatments, or determine potential next steps. But what exactly is a stress EKG and how do you prepare for one? Find out here.