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Becoming the Number 1 Cause of Death in Indonesia, Recognize Stroke Symptoms Early

Admin BFI
1 November 2023
Becoming the Number 1 Cause of Death in Indonesia, Recognize Stroke Symptoms Early

Indonesia, like many countries around the world, faces significant health challenges. One of the primary health concerns is stroke. According to data from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, stroke is the number one cause of death in Indonesia. However, ironically, many people are still unaware of the symptoms of stroke and the actions to take when experiencing it.


Stroke is a serious condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, either due to a blocked blood vessel or bleeding. This condition requires immediate treatment because brain damage can be permanent if not addressed promptly. Therefore, it's crucial to recognize stroke symptoms early and know the appropriate actions to take. In this article, we will further discuss stroke, its symptoms, risk factors, as well as prevention and proper management.


1. Causes of Stroke

Before delving into stroke symptoms, let's understand what stroke is and what causes it. Stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted. This can happen for two main reasons:


1.1 Ischemic Stroke

This is the most common type of stroke and occurs when there is a blockage or obstruction in the blood vessels leading to the brain. This can be caused by blood clots or plaque in the blood vessels.


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1.2 Hemorrhagic Stroke

This occurs when there is bleeding in the brain. It can be caused by the rupture of blood vessels or an aneurysm (a weakened blood vessel prone to rupture).


In both cases, damage to brain cells occurs due to a lack of blood and oxygen supply. If the blood supply to the brain is disrupted for too long, brain damage can be permanent and can result in serious consequences such as the loss of speech, mobility, or even death.


2. Stroke Symptoms

It is essential to recognize stroke symptoms early because immediate action can save lives and reduce the risk of permanent brain damage. Stroke symptoms can vary depending on the type of stroke and the part of the brain affected. Some common stroke symptoms to be aware of include:

2.1 Loss of Consciousness or Fainting

This can occur suddenly and is often a symptom of bleeding in the brain.


2.2 Weakness or Numbness

Loss of strength or numbness in the face, arm, or leg, especially if it occurs on one side of the body.


2.3 Difficulty Speaking or Understanding

Difficulty in speaking or understanding other people's speech.


2.4 Vision Disturbances

Partial loss of vision or difficulty in seeing with one or both eyes.


2.5 Severe Dizziness or Loss of Balance

Severe dizziness or difficulty in maintaining balance.


2.6 Severe Headache

Sudden and severe headache.


2.7 Difficulty Walking

Difficulty in walking, confusion, or poor coordination.


2.8 Difficulty Swallowing

Difficulty in swallowing food or beverages.


2.9 Sudden Changes in Consciousness and Behavior

Sudden changes in consciousness, such as confusion or difficulty waking up from sleep.


2.10 Fainting or Coma

Loss of consciousness or entering a coma state.


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In many cases, stroke symptoms come on suddenly and are often very severe. However, some individuals may experience symptoms that develop gradually. If you or someone around you experiences these symptoms, seek immediate medical help. Time is of the essence in stroke management.


3. Risk Factors for Stroke

There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of someone experiencing a stroke. Identifying and managing these risk factors can help reduce the risk of stroke. Some major risk factors include:

3.1 Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. Regular blood pressure monitoring is crucial for stroke prevention.


3.2 Smoking

Smoking can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of stroke.


3.3 Diabetes

Individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of stroke. Managing blood sugar is key to reducing this risk.


3.4 Obesity

Excess weight or obesity can raise blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and the risk of stroke.


3.5 Family History

If there is a family history of stroke, your risk is also elevated.


3.6 Age

The risk of stroke increases with age, with those over 55 years being at higher risk.


3.7 Gender

Women have a higher risk of stroke than men, mainly due to their longer life expectancy.


3.8 Atrial Fibrillation History

Atrial fibrillation is a type of heart arrhythmia that can increase the risk of stroke due to blood clot formation.


3.9 Blood Clotting Disorders

Blood clotting disorders can increase the risk of clot formation leading to a stroke.


3.10 Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol intake can raise blood pressure and the risk of stroke.


4. Stroke Prevention

When understanding stroke symptoms and risk factors, prevention measures become crucial in reducing the risk. Some preventive measures to take include:

4.1 Blood Pressure Control

Monitoring and managing blood pressure regularly is vital. Blood pressure management can significantly reduce the risk of stroke.


4.2 Smoking Cessation

Quitting smoking is a crucial step in reducing the risk of stroke.


4.3 Diabetes Management

If you have diabetes, ensure that you maintain blood sugar within a healthy range.


4.4 Healthy Eating Habits

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat food sources is essential.


4.5 Physical Activity

Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure.


4.6 Limit Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol intake should follow health guidelines.


4.7 Reduce Salt Intake

Excessive salt consumption can increase blood pressure. Limit your salt intake.


4.8 Weight Management

Maintain a healthy weight through an active lifestyle and balanced diet.


4.9 Regular Checkups

Regular checkups with your doctor are an effective way to detect and manage risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes.


4.10 Consult a Doctor

If you have high-risk factors or a family history that may increase the risk of stroke, consult your doctor for specific recommendations.


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5. Emergency Actions for Stroke

If you or someone around you experiences stroke symptoms, taking immediate action is essential. Time is of the essence in stroke management. Steps to take when dealing with a stroke case include:

5.1 Call an Ambulance

Do not attempt to drive yourself or seek non-emergency medical assistance.


5.2 Note the Time

Record the time when the first stroke symptoms appeared. This information will help the medical team determine the appropriate treatment.


5.3 Do Not Feed or Give Water

Avoid feeding or providing water to someone experiencing stroke symptoms, as there is a risk of choking.


5.4 Ensure an Open Airway

Ensure that the airway of the person experiencing a stroke is not blocked. Remove tight clothing or collars to facilitate breathing.


5.5 Monitor Consciousness

Monitor the person's consciousness. Try to keep them calm and supported.


5.6 Do Not Administer Blood Thinners

Do not administer blood-thinning medications like aspirin unless advised by the medical team.


Stroke is a life-threatening condition, but it can be prevented and managed if we recognize symptoms and risk factors early. Brain health is a valuable asset that should be well-maintained. Implementing prevention measures, recognizing symptoms, and taking immediate action in cases of stroke are key steps that can save lives and reduce the risk of permanent brain damage. Always remember, health is the most precious treasure.


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