• What Is A Stroke?

  • Essentially, a stroke is a "brain attack." In some cases, blood flow is cut off to portions of the brain and clot-busting medicine can be used. Another type of stroke causes bleeding in the brain. The common factor is that all strokes can destroy brain tissue, which can prevent people from talking, swallowing, moving or understanding their surroundings.

    There are two main types of stroke:Stroke

    1. Ischemic stroke
    2. Hemorrhagic stroke


    Ischemic Stroke

    An Ischemic stroke is when a clot blocks the blood flow in one of the blood vessels that supplies the brain. The clot is caused by plaque in the artery.

    Hemorrhagic Stroke

    A Hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel in the brain becomes weak, bursts and leaks blood. 


    Risk Factors

    The number one risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Some of the other common risk factors include:

    • Diabetes
    • Family history
    • High cholesterol
    • Age – 55 and older
    • Smoking
    • A sedentary lifestyle – high fat diet and lack of exercise


    Symptoms

    The most common symptoms of a stroke are:

    • Headache
    • Change in alertness
    • Trouble speaking or understanding when spoken to
    • Trouble working
    • Vision problems – decreased and/or double vision
    • Loss of balance
    • Loss of coordination
    • Muscle weakness in the face, arm or leg (commonly only on one side of the body)


    Diagnosis

    If you suspect you are having a stroke call 911 immediately. The guidance emergency personnel can provide is crucial.

    Once at the hospital, a doctor will give you a physical exam and check your reflexes, vision and blood pressure. You doctor may also order you to undergo further tests to locate the stroke, its location and the type of stroke. These tests may include:

    • Angiogram
    • Carotid ultrasound
    • Echocardiogram
    • Magnetic resonance angiography
    • Blood tests
    • Electrocardiogram (ECG)


    Treatment

    If you are having a stroke you need to get to the hospital as soon as possible.  Quick medical care can mean the difference between life and death. There are clot-busting drugs that can dissolve the clot that is causing the stroke. If the stroke is being caused by something other than a clot there are other treatments that may be given. 

    After a stroke, patients participate in physical, occupations, speech, and swallowing therapy. The treatment goal after a stroke is to help you recover as much as possible. 

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