In continuation with our HEART SERIES; we are looking at STROKE: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Treatment.
Let us refresh our memory again from our last post on
STROKE; When the brain’s blood supply is inadequate, a stroke results.
Strokes are brain attacks.
They occur when the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked.
A stroke is a medical emergency that needs immediate medical attention.
Stroke symptoms (for example, loss of arm or leg function or slurred speech) signify a medical emergency because, without
treatment, blood-deprived brain cells quickly become damaged or die, resulting in brain injury, serious disability, or death.
This Health and Beauty 102 article will explain why strokes occur and how they are treated,
as well as exploring the different types and the steps a person can take to prevent a stroke.
Signs of a Stroke
The F.A.S.T. test was designed in 1998 to help ambulance staff in the United Kingdom quickly assess stroke.
It takes into account the most common symptoms of stroke and is designed to help quickly assess a stroke
with very little training.
- F means face — If one side of the face droops, it’s a sign of a possible stroke
- A means arms — If the person cannot hold both arms out, it’s another possible stroke sign
- S means speech — Slurring words and poor understanding of simple sentences is another possible stroke sign
- T means time — If any of the FAS signs are positive, it’s Time to call 9-1-1 immediately
What are the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke?
There may be no warning signs of a stroke until it occurs.
It is why high blood pressure (hypertension), one of the risk factors for stroke, is called the silent killer.
one of the risk factors for stroke is called the silent killer.
Initial symptoms of a stroke can occur in someone suddenly. Know these signs of a stroke:
- The Difficulty speaking
- They have Difficulty understanding or confusion, especially with simple tasks
- There is Difficulty with muscle strength, especially on one side of the body
- Difficulty with numbness, especially on one side of the body
- Severe headache
- Vision changes (in one or both eyes)
- Also Difficulty with swallowing
- Facial droop on one side
What Causes a Stroke?
Common causes of stroke come from blood vessels both outside and inside the brain.
Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can occur when plaque (deposits of cholesterol, calcium, fat, and other substances)
builds up and narrows the vessel making it easy for clots to form and further occlude the vessel.
The clots can break free only to occlude smaller vessels inside the brain.
The blood vessels inside the brain itself can accumulate this plaque.
Occasionally, weakened vessels can burst and bleed into the brain.
Diagnosing Types of Strokes
There are two main types of strokes (ischemic and hemorrhagic) and they are treated differently.
They are often emergently diagnosed by a head CT scan (or an MRI scan).
This slide shows a CT scan of an ischemic stroke, which is responsible for about 80% to 90% of all strokes.
Ischemic strokes are caused by clots that reduce or stop blood flow to the brain.
The clot may develop elsewhere in the body and circulate to become lodged in a blood vessel in the brain,
or the clot may originate in the brain.
Ischemic strokes are usually divided into two main subtypes: thrombotic and embolic.
Nearly half of all strokes are thrombotic strokes.
Thrombotic strokes are caused when blood clots form in the brain due to a diseased or damaged cerebral artery.
Blood clots also cause embolic strokes.
However, in the case of embolic strokes, the blood clot forms in an artery outside the brain.
Often these blood clots start in the heart and travel until they become lodged in an artery of the brain.
The physical and neurological damage embolic strokes cause is nearly immediate.
This picture shows a hemorrhagic stroke using an MRI image.
The circle insert outlines what composes a hemorrhagic stroke.
A blood vessel in the brain breaks open and blood escapes into the brain under pressure, compressing other blood
vessels and brain cells causing damage and death.
This bleeding into the brain is difficult to stop and is more likely to be fatal.
There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes: intracerebral and subarachnoid.
Intracerebral Stroke means “within the brain,” and it refers to a stroke caused by a diseased blood vessel bursting within the brain.
Intracerebral strokes are usually caused by high blood pressure.
A subarachnoid hemorrhage refers to bleeding immediately surrounding the brain in the area of the
head called the subarachnoid space.
The main symptom of a subarachnoid stroke is a sudden, severe headache, possibly following a popping or snapping feeling.
Many factors can cause a subarachnoid stroke, including head injury, blood thinners, bleeding disorders
and bleeding from a tangle of blood vessels known as an arteriovenous malformation.
“Mini-strokes” (also termed transient ischemic attacks or TIAs) are temporary blockages of blood vessels in the brain.
TIAs can produce mild stroke symptoms that resolve.
TIAs often occur before a stroke happens, so they serve as warning signs that the person may need stroke preventive therapy.
Mini Stroke Symptoms
- Facial Droop
- Vision loss
Mini Stroke Treatment
Treatment for a mini-stroke may include medication, changes in lifestyle, and possibly surgery to reduce the
chances of another stroke occurring.
Guess we can pause it here and continue in our next post where we will talk about;
- Stroke Prevention: Managing Medical Conditions
- Lifestyle Changes
- Uncontrollable Stroke Risk Factors
- Stroke Recovery
- Preventing Another Stroke: Lifestyle
- Treatment and Life After a Stroke
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