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Stroke Can Be Irreversible: Doctor

A stroke occurs when blood flow to brain is blocked, either by blood clots or narrowed blood vessels, or when there is bleeding in the brain, a US doctor said Thursday.

“As a result, as stroke can cause problems with talking and walking,” Taing Tek Hong, a Florida-based doctor said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.” “In many cases, the effects of stroke are irreversible.”

“Chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes can increase your risk, as well as lifestyle such as being overweight, smoking cigarettes, or drinking excessively,” he said.

Coronary artery disease is another health problem to watch for, he said.

The disease occurs when a fatty material called plaque builds up on the inner walls of the coronary arteries, which carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart, he said.

“Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when an area of your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood,” he said. “Angina may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. The pain also may occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back. It can feel like indigestion.”

“Plaque causes the coronary arteries to become narrow and stiff,” Taing Tek Hong said. “The flow of blood to the heart muscle is reduced. This causes pain and can lead to a heart attack.

A heart attack occurs when blood-flow to an area of the heart muscle is completely blocked. This prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching that area of the heart muscle and causes it to die. Without quick treatment, a heart attack can lead to serious problems and even death.”

Taing Tek Hong’s discussion prompted other heart-related questions from listeners.

One caller asked what can be done for a slow heartbeat.

“Some hearts don’t beat regularly,” the doctor said. “A pacemaker can correct the problem.

A pacemaker is a small device that sends electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate and rhythm. Talk to your doctor about it.”

Another listener said he was pale as a boy and sometimes his body turned purple. “Right now I have permanent chest pain,” he said.

“It could be the hole in the heart,” Taing Tek Hong said. “A hole in the heart allows blood to flow from one atrium to the other, usually from the left side to the right side. This causes extra blood to flow in the right atrium, in the right ventricle, and to the lungs. You need to talk with your doctor. Your doctor will give you an EKG test. The EKG test measures the rate and regularity of your heartbeat.”