Loss of blood flow to the brain.
Your brain requires adequate blood flow to function, and if this supply is reduced or stopped, these sensitive cells begin to die. Receiving immediate medical care can help to reduce complications and improve your recovery.
Timing is important when it comes to stroke treatment, so if you or someone near you begin to present symptoms, pay attention to the time that the symptoms start and seek medical care immediately. Stroke symptoms often include the inability to speak, difficulty walking, and a sudden and severe headache.
Numbness or paralysis in the face, arm, or leg may be present and will only affect one side of the body. You may also experience vomiting and a sense of disorientation during a stroke. If you think you are having a stroke, try lifting both arms above your head or smiling in the mirror. If one side of your body is noticeably affected, you should seek immediate attention.
A helpful acronym for remembering what to do if someone is having a stroke is to think “FAST.” The four elements, (Face, Arms, Speech, and Time) can all help you evaluate a person’s symptoms. If you suspect a stroke is occurring, even if symptoms stop and restart, call 911.
An ischemic stroke is most common and is caused when blood flow to the brain is severely reduced due to a narrowing of the arteries. This can occur if you have high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, or if a blood clot or other cholesterol enters into the blood vessels of your brain.
A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, occurs when there are transient neurologic symptoms that resolve. It’s important to investigate the cause in a timely manner when this happens because these events often precede ischemic strokes.
Hemorrhagic strokes are the other major type and are predominantly due to uncontrolled blood pressure or trauma. The overuse of blood thinners, a weakened blood vessel wall, or an ischemic stroke that leads to a hemorrhagic stroke may also be contributing factors.
Experiencing a stroke isn’t as common as it used to be, and while there are a large number of risk factors, treatment and prevention have dramatically improved. Medical issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, atherosclerosis, or obstructive sleep apnea all contribute to the occurrence of a stroke. Heavy drinking, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle are also risk factors.
The way a stroke is treated largely depends on the type of stroke as well as how quickly you are able to receive medical care. Treatment of an ischemic stroke focuses on restoring blood flow to the brain and might utilize IV medication or a surgical procedure to remove a blockage. The goal of hemorrhagic stroke treatment is to stop the bleeding as well as reduce the pressure in your brain and often require surgery in combination with medication.
At Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates, our main focus is preventing a stroke. We are experts at uncovering and diagnosing risk factors that can be treated, significantly reducing your risk of having a stroke.