A stroke (you may know of it as a brain stroke) occurs in the event of a blood vessel in the brain getting ruptured and bleeding thereafter, it can also happen suddenly as a result of a blockage that reduces blood supply to the brain; both scenarios hinder the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain’s tissues.
Without necessary oxygen, brain tissue and cells get damaged and begin dying rapidly in a matter of minutes.
The three primary types of strokes are Transient ischemic attack (TIA), Ischemic stroke and Hemorrhagic stroke.
The symptoms of a stroke
Emergency treatment of stroke is the best chance a person has for survival, but there are symptoms you can look out for and seek help earlier. Symptoms will appear in the body parts controlled by the damaged areas of the brain and if you know signs, you can act quickly. The symptoms of a typical stroke are numbness in areas of the body, especially the side, paralysis, difficulty speaking or understanding others, disorientation, extreme agitation, slurry speech, difficulty seeing, inability to walk or stand up, loss of balance, severe and sudden headaches, seizures, nausea and vomiting, among others.
A stroke needs immediate medical attention and if you believe you or someone else is suffering a stroke, call your local hospital for help, this may be followed by immediate surgical treatment for stroke as soon as possible. Early intervention and treatment help prevent brain damage, long-term disability and death.
The causes of stroke
The cause of a stroke depends on the type of stroke you have and this affects treatment and recovery.
In this, arteries that supply blood to the brain narrow down or get blocked because of blood clots or significantly lessened blow flow to the brain. There are two kinds of blockages that cause ischemic strokes: a cerebral embolism which occurs when a clot in another part of the body moves through the bloodstream until it hits an artery and narrows it down, causing a stroke. The other is a cerebral thrombosis; when a blood clot develops at the fatty plaque within the blood vessel itself, eventually causing stroke.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
Simply called a TIA or “ministroke”, this occurs when blood flow to the brain gets blocked momentarily. The symptoms are akin to those of a full fledged stroke but are temporary and disappear in a matter of minutes or hours, as and when the blockage moves again and blood flow is restored.
This too is caused by a blood clot and while a TIA is not a full stroke, it is a clear warning against a fully fledged stroke in the future.
Seek out the best options for brain stroke treatment immediately if you think you experienced a TIA.
More than a third of people who go through a TIA but do not get treatment have a major stroke within a span of a year and almost 15 percent of people who have a TIA will suffer a major stroke within 3 months or so.
This occurs when an artery in the brain breaks or leaks blood, creating excessive pressure in the skull, swelling the brain and damaging cells and tissues instantly.
This needs immediate brain stroke surgery and time is of the essence.
An unhealthy diet, one that is high in salt, trans fats, saturated fats, artificial sugar, cholesterol; increases the risk of stroke.
Lack of exercise
Regular exercise doesn’t mean benching hundred kilos in the gym or running a marathon, just a little aerobic exercise every week, a brisk walk, is all you need to keep stroke away. But leading an inactive lifestyle is inviting trouble.
Heavy alcohol consumption
Excess alcohol consumption raises blood pressure levels, and triglyceride levels , which causes plaque buildup in the arteries that narrow down blood vessels.
Tobacco, in any form, raises the risk of stroke, since it damages blood vessels and the heart
There are some risk factors which a person cannot control, these include having a family history of stroke, and risk is higher families with a history of genetic health factors like high blood pressure. Strokes are more common in women than in men across all age groups. The older you get, the more likely you will be to have a stroke.
Your own health history
Certain medical conditions are related to increasing stroke risk. Of course, if you had a TIA, you’ll be under direct risk of a stroke, but high blood pressure and cholesterol, being obese, or having a cardiovascular disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, defects in heart valves, blood clotting disorder, and patent foramen ovale (PFO) also increase the chance of suffering stroke.
Lifestyle choices may not help prevent all kinds of strokes but can make a radical difference when it comes to lowering the risk of suffering a stroke. Get in touch with us if you think you’re at risk of suffering a stroke, and better understand how you can manage the risk of stroke and lead a better, safer and healthier life.