In the event of a stroke, action must be taken quickly
Health experts say that more than a quarter of a million Germans have a stroke each year. A cerebral infarction is one of the most common causes of death in Germany. For the nationwide day against the stroke, it is pointed out how to recognize a stroke, what to do in an emergency and how to prevent it.
Many deaths would be avoidable
Every year, more than a quarter of a million Germans suffer a stroke. This is one of the most common causes of death in Germany. According to experts, many deaths could be avoided if stroke symptoms were quickly recognized and those affected were given immediate care. On the occasion of the nationwide day against the stroke on May 10, health experts will provide information on how to identify a stroke and what to do in an emergency.
Acting quickly can save lives
In the event of a stroke, quick action is vital. Because the longer the brain is not adequately supplied with oxygen and blood, the more brain cells die.
This leads to permanent restrictions. Stroke is the most common cause of permanent disability worldwide.
According to a study by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), an estimated 1.8 million people aged 18 and over have had a stroke in this country.
"But despite numerous information campaigns, many do not know the most important symptoms," said Professor Dr. med. Wolf Schäbitz, press spokesman for the German Stroke Society (DSG) in a message.
Under the slogan "Stroke can affect everyone!", The day against the stroke is once again made aware of the possible signs of a stroke.
Inadequate supply of blood and oxygen
In the event of a stroke, certain areas of the brain are poorly supplied with blood and oxygen - mostly as a result of a vascular occlusion (ischemic stroke).
More rarely as a result of bleeding from the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). Then brain cells begin to die and brain functions are suddenly disrupted or fail completely.
According to doctors, arteriosclerosis (arterial calcification) is the main cause of vascular occlusion, i.e. a gradual calcification of the carotid or cerebral arteries.
But blood clots that get into the brain can also close a vessel and thus restrict the supply of blood and oxygen.
With hemorrhagic stroke, small arteries burst in the brain, often as a result of high blood pressure.
Recognize a stroke
The symptoms of a stroke depend on which area of the brain is affected and how severe the cerebral infarction is.
A drooping corner of the mouth can be a sign. In addition, paralysis and numbness can occur in the legs, arms or face - usually in one half of the body.
Furthermore, speech, vision and balance disorders as well as violent headaches can be indications of a cerebral infarction.
Ask patient to smile
The so-called FAST rule can help identify a stroke and act correctly. The letters FAST stand for "Face, Arms, Speech, Time".
In this test, the person concerned is asked to smile. If this only works on one side, it indicates hemiplegia.
The patient is also asked to stretch their arms forward, turn their palms up and hold this position for ten seconds. In the case of paralysis, it is not possible to lift both arms, they quickly drop down or turn inwards.
Another option is to let the person concerned repeat a simple sentence. If he is unable to do this, the voice sounds washed out or words and syllables are swallowed, then there is a speech disorder.
The last point of the test refers to the time and means to call for help immediately on the emergency number 112 if one of the three short tests is suspicious.
The FAST test can also be carried out with an app (for IOS and Android). More information is available on the website of the German Stroke Aid Foundation.
Every minute counts
In an emergency, every minute counts! Dead brain cells can no longer recover. The less time there is between the first symptoms and medical treatment, the better the prognosis.
“Patients who have a stroke have to be treated quickly, especially by specialists. Germany is one of the countries in which acute care for strokes is very well ensured, ”wrote the German Stroke Help Foundation in a statement.
In the meantime, more and more patients in Germany are being treated in specialized hospital departments - so-called stroke units.
However, permanent damage such as paralysis or speech disorders are common. In addition, there is an increased risk of another stroke for those affected. However, mortality after a stroke has decreased in recent years.
Important rules to avoid a stroke
Prevention is at least as important as rapid therapy. Health experts have summarized the most important rules for this:
Existing hypertension must be treated. Other risk factors such as type 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation, fat metabolism disorders and high cholesterol must also be prevented.
Overweight as well as stress should be avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet are recommended.
Alcohol should only be consumed rarely and in small quantities. Smoking is not recommended.
Existing cardiac arrhythmias should be treated medically if necessary.
Particular risk factors in women
Most people who have a stroke are older than 60 years. But it also affects more and more younger patients.
According to the German Stroke Society (DSG), 55 percent of those affected are women. They have special risk factors.
For example, if you take the birth control pill. "The risk has decreased with the newer preparations that contain fewer estrogens, but it still remains increased," explained Professor Dr. Armin Grau, 1st Chairman of the DSG.
The risk is also increased if women suffer from pregnancy poisoning preeclampsia and typical risk factors such as overweight and high blood pressure are added.
A particular risk group are women with diabetes: their risk of developing an illness is increased by 27 percent compared to men with diabetes and the severity of the stroke is also significantly more pronounced among women with diabetes. (ad)