A stroke occurs when there is an insufficient supply of blood to your brain. This means your brain tissues will be deprived of enough oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells then start dying in minutes.
This insufficient blood supply to the brain can be caused by a blockage or a rupture in the vessels supplying blood to the brain. The Center for Disease Control estimates that more than 750,000 U.S citizens suffer from stroke yearly, making it the U.S’s fifth-leading cause of death.
Some treatment options are most effective when administered a short period after the stroke happens. It’s, therefore, crucial to pay attention to the particular time symptoms began before seeking medical attention from the Heights emergency room.
Below are the signs and symptoms.
- Difficulty in speech and/or understanding what your colleagues are saying. You can slur your speech or have trouble understanding speech.
- Paralysis/numbness on the face, arms or legs- The paralysis is usually sudden and affects one side of the body. To diagnose yourself, try and raise both arms and the head simultaneously. You might be having a stroke if one of the arms drop or a side of your mouth droops when you smile.
- Eyesight problems – Take note of blurred vision in one or both eyes. You can start seeing double images.
- Headache – If you notice an abrupt headache accompanied by vomiting, altered consciousness or vomiting, you might be amid a stroke. It’s imperative that you seek help from our 24-hour emergency rooms.
- Trouble Walking – Some people stumble and lose their balance. Dizziness and poor coordination is also an indicator of an ongoing stroke.
Types and Causes of Stroke
Strokes are caused by two main factors: Blocked artery (Ischemic Stroke) or leaking of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). In some cases, temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke. This is called a Transient Ischemic Attack. Its symptoms are not long-lasting.
Memorial Heights ER terms it as the most common type and occurs when blood vessels become extra narrow or blocked. It leads to severely low blood flow levels into the brain; a condition called ischemia.
Blood vessels can get blocked or narrowed by accumulated fats, blood clots and other debris in the bloodstream that lodge inside your brain’s blood vessels.
This type of stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain raptures and starts leaking. Brain hemorrhages are a result of various conditions affecting the blood vessels. Hemorrhagic stroke relates to the following factors:
- Trauma like car accidents
- Ischemic stroke that causes a hemorrhage
- Weak spots such as bulges in your blood vessels (aneurysms)
- Overtreatment with anticoagulants
- Uncontrolled hypertension
- Accumulation of protein deposits on the walls of your vessels
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
TIA is also called a mini-stroke. Temporary symptoms characterize it as those you’d experience if you had a real stroke. It doesn’t cause any permanent damage. You, however, need to visit an emergency room near you if you experience a mini-stroke. It could be paving the way for a full stroke.
Just like Ischemic stroke, TIA occurs when there is a clot or debris that blocks the flow of blood to a specific part of the nervous system.
Diagnosis and Treatment
At the Memorial Heights ER, your doctor will ask your colleague or family member when the symptoms arose and the activity you were involved in. Your medical history will also be recorded to help monitor the risk factors. The doctor will:
- Need an account of medications you take
- Check patient’s blood pressure
- Listen to your pulse rate
A physical examination to evaluate the following will also be taken:
- Signs of confusion
- Numbness in the face, arms and legs
- Eyesight issues
A variety of tests will also be done to determine what might have caused the stroke, what brain section was damaged, whether you have internal bleeding and so on. These tests include Blood tests, MRI and CT Scan, EKG, Cerebral Angiogram, Carotid Ultrasound and Echocardiogram.
To completely recover from a stroke, you need proper medical evaluation and immediate treatment. The more time you waste, the more brain you lose. As soon as a stroke occurs, immediately call 911 or have a colleague do it.
Treatment varies depending on the type of stroke.
Ischemic Stroke and TIA – Since they are caused by a blood clot or a blockage in the vessels, treatment is quite similar. Medications include Antiplatelet and Anticoagulants, Clot-Breaking Drugs, Mechanical thrombectomy, Stents and Surgery.
Hemorrhagic Stroke – This is opposite to ischemic stroke. You are given drugs that make your blood clot. Medications taken will counteract any blood-thinning medicines you take. Medications that lower blood and brain pressure are also issued here.
Other procedures include Medical Coiling, Clamping and surgery.