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Food, Health & Fitness

STROKE IN FILIPINO YOUNG ADULTS

The muscles in your arms stiffen. Heart pounds like a beating drum. Head in the clouds. The sound of your sigh in despair echoes across the room. Your body starts to tremble, and there seems to be nothing you can do but lie on the ground until it’s over. At first, you think it’s just another episode of anxiety. But then it starts to dawn on you that you are already having signs of stroke. You let a tear roll down your cheek while you stare blankly at the carpet where your face is pressed on. Is it over yet?

In the Philippines, we rarely hear cases of stroke in young adults. A little over 10% of the stroke cases in the country belong to the 18-49 age bracket. It may seem low in hindsight, but this number is steadily growing as time progresses. Scientific researchers and medical experts point toward unhealthy habits and bad lifestyles as key contributors to the rising number of mild and regular stroke cases in Filipino young adults.

Stress and Stroke

Stroke

International researches and journals also highlight stress as one of the leading causes of stroke. For nearly three years of being in a pandemic, different kinds of stress have become uninvited guests in every Filipino household. Some creep in quietly; others strike unprovoked.

Stress brings out unhealthy habits. When stress triggers stroke, it can also develop conditions that make a recovery a challenge. In a journal published by Stroke Journal in NIH National Library of Medicine, out of the 114 Filipino young adult stroke patients, 20.2% suffer from anxiety, while 34.2% experience depression after an attack.

Stroke Statistics for filipino young adults
Photo from Middle East Current Psychiatry Journal

A 2021 research about the effects of lockdown concluded that the Philippines had the highest mean score in all three domains relating to the prevalence of stress, anxiety, and depression levels. At a glance, they are just mere figures. But behind these numbers are actual people struggling to stay afloat. Some go through it quietly; some express it through the loudest of screams. What’s worse, these conditions may trigger stroke if left unchecked.

Actual People Behind the Numbers

Stroke

What the numbers in various studies and researches tell us is the frightening fact that stroke could happen to anyone. Apart from our ongoing battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, we also have this enemy that could strike anywhere, anytime, anyone. While there are means to prevent a stroke from causing irreversible damage, there is simply not much discussion being made around it.

The Department of Health, through its Healthy Pilipinas campaign, has recommended steps to improve one’s quality of living through a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The seven healthy habits include:

Move More, Eat Right,

Be Clean, Live Sustainably

Get Vaccinated

Don’t Smoke, Lessen Alcohol. Say No to Drugs

Care for Yourself, Care for Others

Practice Safe Sex

Do No Harm, Put Safety First

In our previous article about Diabetes and other lifestyle diseases, four of these seven healthy habits were also mentioned. The list shows consistency in terms of how we can promote a healthy lifestyle. But one thing that is not mentioned in either list is how one could specifically guard their own heart. Surely, the heart ultimately benefits if a person follows the 7 Healthy Habits. But it becomes trickier when a person is also going through hormonal imbalance, a neurologic condition, past traumas triggered by recent events, or anything under the sun.

Prevent Stroke by Guarding your Heart

Healthy living

Tying it with the statistics of Filipino young adults who experienced a stroke, having a sound body does not always seem to ensure a sound mind. Many would say that the younger generation often exposes themselves to triggers, stressors, and things that could alter the balance in their body. It could either come from extreme pressure to perform, personal struggles, or expectations from others. These things, when they accumulate, could drive a biological force—strong enough to trigger irreversible health conditions, like stroke.

While there is no specific formula to prevent a stroke from happening, one thing is for sure; choosing to live healthily and managing the workload we carry with our brains could spell the difference between life and death. We all go through some challenging points in our lives. When push comes to shove, our bodies should be strong enough to take the impact of these life events. Do not wait for you to have an attack. There is no best time to visit your doctor. We keep hearing it, but prevention is indeed better than cure, especially for stroke. Guard your heart, and start living the healthy way. Listen to your body. Ensure your future by giving your health the attention it needs.

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