- What is a Stroke
- How to prevent a stroke
- How to recognize
- Life-threatening complications after a stroke
There are actually two different kinds of strokes:
- Ischemic strokes. These are the most common type of stroke. They happen when a blood clot blocks an artery, choking off oxygen to a part of the brain. Without oxygen, brain cells first go into shock and then start dying. So the longer you go without stroke treatment, the greater the damage to your brain.
While not a full-fledged stroke, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs or "mini-strokes") cause stroke symptoms but resolve within a few minutes. We'll talk more about them later.
- Hemorrhagic strokes. While less common, these strokes are more devastating. They're the result of a hemorrhage -- a burst blood vessel -- in the brain. Although the cause is very different from an ischemic stroke, the result is the same: Brain cells can't get the blood they need. More than 60% of people who have a hemorrhagic stroke die within a year, and those who survive tend to be much more disabled.
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Can you prevent a stroke?After you have had a stroke, you are at risk for having another one. You can make some important lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of stroke and improve your overall health.
- Don't smoke. Smoking can more than double your risk of stroke. Avoid secondhand smoke too.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber grains and breads, and olive oil. Eat less salt too.
- Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week. Your doctor can suggest a safe level of exercise for you.
- Stay at a healthy weight.
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible.
- Limit alcohol. Having more than 1 drink a day (if you are female) or more than 2 drinks a day (if you are male) increases the risk of stroke.
- Take a daily aspirin or other medicines if your doctor advises it.
- Avoid getting sick from the flu. Get a flu shot every year.
- Hemorrhagic strokes are difficult to treat -- usually, it's necessary to simply watch and wait for bleeding to stop on its own. Occasionally, hemorrhagic strokes can be treated with surgery or other procedures.The main problem with treating strokes is catching them in time. Clot-busters need to be given within a few hours of the very first symptoms of a stroke.As you recover -- and stroke recovery can be slow -- you're likely to need ongoing treatment. The problem is that having one stroke puts you at risk for having more. If you've had an ischemic stroke, your doctor might recommend blood thinners -- drugs that reduce your blood's tendency to clot. Stents can also be surgically implanted to open up a clogged artery.
Life-threatening complications after a strokeComplications that threaten a person's life may develop soon after stroke symptoms occur. Preventing these complications is a major focus of initial stroke treatment.Life-threatening complications include:
-Fever. This may make a person's chance of recovery worse if the fever occurs at the same time as a stroke. Fever may be a sign of an infection, such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection. Drugs that reduce fever (acetaminophen or aspirin) are often used. But if these do not work, a special blanket that circulates cool air or water may be needed.
-High blood sugar (glucose). This often occurs in people who have diabetes. Very high or low blood sugar immediately after a stroke interferes with proper brain cell function, increasing the risk of damage.
-Blood pressure changes. People who have a stroke usually will have higher blood pressure for at least 1 to 3 days after the stroke. This may represent an attempt by the body to increase blood flow to the part of the brain that is being affected by the stroke. Only very high blood pressure is treated. If it occurs, very high blood pressure usually is brought down slowly. A rapid drop in blood pressure can lead to more brain damage.
-Buildup of spinal fluid within the brain (hydrocephalus). Fluid on the brain is more likely to occur if the stroke was caused by bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke).
-Spasms of blood vessels (vasospasm). Vasospasm may occur if the stroke was caused by a subarachnoid hemorrhage from an aneurysm.
-A blood clot in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) that may travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
- Keep a list of emergency rescue service numbers next to the telephone and in your pocket, wallet or purse.
- Find out which area hospitals are primary stroke centers that have 24-hour emergency stroke care.
- Know (in advance) which hospital or medical facility is nearest your home or office.
- Not all the warning signs occur in every stroke. Don't ignore signs of stroke, even if they go away!
- Check the time. When did the first warning sign or symptom start? You'll be asked this important question later.
- If you have one or more stroke symptoms that last more than a few minutes, don't delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical service (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can quickly be sent for you.
- If you're with someone who may be having stroke symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or the EMS. Expect the person to protest — denial is common. Don't take "no" for an answer. Insist on taking prompt action.
They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.
Jane`s husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - at 6:00 pm Jane passed away. She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don`t die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.
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A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke,totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.