Stroke is a brain injury caused by an interruption in blood flow. Brain tissue that does not get oxygen and nutrients from blood can die within minutes. The damage to the brain can cause a sudden loss in bodily functions. The types of function that are affected will depend on the part of the brain that is damaged.
There are 2 blood flow problems that cause a stroke. Strokes may be ischemic or hemorrhagic.
An ischemic stroke is caused by a blocked blood vessel. It is the most common cause of stroke.
stroke is caused by a ruptured blood vessel.
Symptoms occur suddenly. Exact symptoms will depend on the part of the brain that is affected. Rapid treatment is important to decrease the amount of brain damage. Brain tissue without blood flow dies quickly.
Call for emergency medical services right away if you notice any of the following sudden symptoms:
Weakness or numbness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
Trouble speaking or understanding
Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Lightheadedness, trouble walking, loss of balance, or coordination
A physical exam will be done. The doctor will look for muscle weakness, visual and speech problems, and problems with basic movement. If possible, you will be asked about your symptoms and medical history.
Images of your brain and blood vessels may need to be taken with:
Some will receive a group of drugs called thrombolytics. These medicines can rapidly dissolve blood clots. They are often given by IV, but can also be delivered directly to the blood clot. These medicines need to be given within hours after the start of symptoms to be most effective. That is why it is important to get medical help right away if stroke symptoms develop.
Aspirin and other medicine may be continued to decrease the risk of future blood clots. This may prevent future strokes from occurring.
To help manage other health issues and decrease the risk of future strokes the doctor may recommend medicine to:
An embolectomy may be needed. It will remove a clot and allow blood flow back into the area. A wire is passed through blood vessels to the clot. Tools will then be passed along the wire to do one of the following:
Physically remove the clot
Deliver clot-dissolving medicine directly to the clot
The stroke and damaged tissue can cause swelling in the brain. Surgery may be needed to relieve the pressure. One common option is to remove a section of the skull. This is called a
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Ischemic strokes (clots). American Stroke Association website. Available at: American Stroke Association website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated April 26, 2017. Accessed November 10, 2017.
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