The term stroke (med.: insult) refers to a symptom caused by an abrupt circulatory disturbance. Since the cells of the brain (neurons) are very sensitive, they perish after a few minutes without sufficient oxygen supply.
The risk of suffering an insult increases steadily with age. The annual incidence rate for people between 55 and 65 years of age is approximately 250 per 100,000 inhabitants, and for people over 65 the incidence rate increases almost threefold. In rare cases, people of younger age or even children can suffer an insult. Men generally suffer a stroke slightly more often than women. A stroke can be caused by different changes, which is why it can be divided into different types:
- Ischemic infarction: this is the most common cause of stroke, accounting for 80 percent. Atherosclerosis or blood clots can lead to a blockage of the afferent vessels.
- Cerebral haemorrhage: Vascular injuries can cause bleeding in the brain, which is responsible for almost 20 percent of insults.
- In rare cases, circulatory disorders are caused by inflammatory diseases of the vessels.
Insults are the number one cause of permanent disability worldwide and the number two cause of death. This makes it clear that strokes also play an important economic role. The care and support of those affected not only takes up a lot of time, but also incurs high costs. The lifelong costs for a stroke patient amount to approximately 45,000 euros in Europe.