Dysphagia is ‘early’ warning sign of a stroke – expert

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A stroke is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate attention. It occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. If you suspect someone you know if suffering a stroke it is vital you call 999 as soon as possible.

Therefore, spotting the early warning signs of a stroke could save someone’s life.

One such sign, according to Doctor Joseph Ambani, from GlowBar, is dysphagia.

Dysphagia is the medical term for having difficulty swallowing.

Dr Ambani said this could be a “sudden change”.

He listed other early symptoms as:

  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side
  • of the body
  • Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause
  • Fainting or unconsciousness, even briefly.

He told Express.co.uk: “It’s important to note that these symptoms may vary and not everyone experiences them the same way.

“If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately as prompt treatment can help prevent long-term disability or death.”

Causes of a stroke

There are two main causes of a stroke.

The most common type of stroke is an ischaemic stroke, which happens when blood supply to the brain is stopped because of a blood clot.

Whereas with a haemorrhagic stroke a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts.

“There are several factors that can increase your risk of having a stroke,” Dr Ambani said.

High blood pressure – This is the leading cause of stroke and can damage and weaken blood vessels in the brain.

Diabetes – High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of stroke.

High cholesterol – High levels of cholesterol can clog and narrow the blood vessels, increasing the risk of stroke.

Heart disease – Conditions such as heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and heart valve problems can increase the risk of stroke.

Family history – If a close relative has had a stroke, your risk may be higher.

There are also several lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of stroke, which include:

  • A diet high in salt and saturated fat
  • Lack of exercise
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • Smoking.

Dr Ambani added: “On the other hand, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet low in salt, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

“You should definitely quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption and learn how to manage stress effectively.

“Prevention is better than cure so you can control blood pressure and cholesterol levels and just be aware of your family history and discuss your risk with your healthcare provider.”

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