A stroke happens when the blood supply is cut off to the brain and the cells involved are damaged or die. There can often be little or no warning, with life changing effects.
The part of the body or mind that is affected is down to which part of the brain is hit when the stroke happens, but also the health of the person who the stroke happens to will have an impact on the level of damage.
Both men and women suffer from strokes, and while they happen to men more often, women are more likely to die from the stroke than men.
Types of Strokes
The most common type of stroke, which accounts for 80% of all strokes is caused by a clot or other blockage within the artery leading to the brain; this is called an ischemic stroke. There are also intracerebral hemorrhage and subarachnoid hemorrhage which is when there is a sudden rupture to an artery within the brain. In the first case blood is then released into the brain and the second type is when the location of the ruptured artery results in blood filling the space around the brain.
Signs of a Strokes
Should a stroke occur the following may happen.
The face will often drop to one side and the person will have difficulty in forming a smile, or their eyes may appear droopy.
It is also the case that it may not be possible to lift one or both arms and keep them raised due to muscle weakness or numbness.
Speech may be slurred, or it may not be possible for the person to speak at all.
Other symptoms may include numbness on one side of the body, sudden loss of vision, dizziness, problems with balance, issues swallowing, sudden and severe headache, blacking out may occur in severe cases.
Mini-Stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack
The signs will be the same as for a stroke, and will last from a few minutes up to a few hours before disappearing completely. Mini strokes should not be ignored however as they are warning signs of a serious problem with the blood supply to the brain.
It is thought that 1 in 10 who suffers from a TIA will go onto experience a full stroke within 4 weeks. The TIA may offer a good opportunity to find a cause or minimize the risk of permanent neurologic damage that results from a stroke.
Access to treatment within a reasonable amount of time will limit the chances of long term disability and could save lives. Brain scans and MRI’s should be undertaken as soon as possible. Specialized rehab is available for stroke sufferers.
Clot busting medicines can be used to treat strokes, but is only effective within a short space of time after the stroke and regular doses of aspirin will also be used. Anti-coagulants are also diagnosed to those suffering from a stroke which will prevent blood from clotting.
In some cases it may be necessary to treat blood pressure issues, or cholesterol levels to lower chances of a subsequent attack.
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