Myth: Stroke and heart attack are the same.
Reality: Stroke occurs in and affects the brain. This confusion may have come about because both of these health problems involve the circulatory system and can be caused by blood clots. They are only similar in that both require emergency treatment. Think of stroke as a brain attack.
Myth: Stroke is unpreventable. People have no control over it.
Reality: Early detection and effective control of stroke risk factors can greatly reduce the chances of having a stroke.
Myth: Stroke hits without warning.
Reality: Many strokes are preceded by brief episodes of stroke symptoms, also known as Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIAs). These are temporary interruptions of the blood supply to an area of the brain.
Myth: Stroke only happens to older people.
Reality: Around a third of stroke patients are under age 65. Taking steps to prevent stroke should begin early in life and continue over your lifespan. A stroke that happens after age 65 is the likely result of a longterm process that started with untreated medical conditions, lifestyle choices and health habits formed in young adulthood. Stroke can also occur in children.
Myth: During stroke, brain cells die immediately, causing instant brain damage.
Reality: Brain cells don’t die all at once during stroke. Cells in the infarct (the area directly affected by the blood vessel blockage or breakage) begin dying within minutes to a few hours. However, brain cells in the infarct aren’t the only ones in danger. Through a process called secondary injury, dying brain cells set off a “chain reaction” of electrical and chemical events. These events endanger, and can kill, brain cells in the surrounding area. As a result, the stroke survivor may experience more severe disability. These damage processes can potentially be treated if patients present to hospital within three hours of stroke onset.
Myth: Stroke is not a medical emergency.
Reality: An emergency response to stroke is critical. At the hospital, doctors will confirm the diagnosis of stroke and perform tests - including a CT scan - to determine the size, location, and cause. This is important because medical and surgical treatment options will vary depending on whether the stroke resulted from a blocked artery or a haemorrhage. Some medications must be given within the first three hours of the stroke. If the stroke symptoms prove to be a TIA, doctors can determine the underlying cause and work with you to prevent a potentially fatal or disabling stroke