How Do Strokes Strike?

A stroke can happen to anyone at any age. According to the American Stroke Association, someone in the United Sates has a stroke every 40 seconds.

So how do strokes strike? Strokes occur when there is bleeding in the brain or when there is a blockage resulting in blood and oxygen not flowing to the brain. A stroke limits the oxygen supply to the brain and can lead to serious brain damage. 

Every minute a stroke goes untreated, a person loses about 1.9 million neurons, which can affect speech, memory, movement and so much more. Learn to spot a stroke fast by knowing the signs to look out for. The warning signs include:

Signs of Stroke

- Numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially in one side of the body

- Sudden severe head pain

- Difficulty speaking or understanding language

- Unexplained dizziness, loss of balance

- Loss of vision or difficulty seeing in one or both eyes

Stroke Risk Factors

- High blood pressure

- Obesity

- Diet

- Lack of physical activity

- Diabetes

- Smoking

Three major types of stroke:

Ischemic Stroke

An ischemic stroke, also referred to as a clot, occurs when there is a blockage in the blood vessel as it supplies blood to the brain. This build-up is the result of fatty deposits lining the walls of the vessel. Fatty deposits can cause two types of blockage:

Cerebral thrombosis: a blood clot in the vessel 

Cerebral embolism: a blood clot in another part of the circulatory system such as the heart or large arteries in the neck or chest. A piece of the clot detaches and enters blood stream until it reaches small vessels that won’t allow it to pass.

85% percent of stroke cases are caused by ischemic stroke.

Hemorrhagic Stroke
Hemorrhagic strokes are less common than ischemic stroke and account for about thirteen percent of stroke cases. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a weakened vessel bursts (or leaks) and bleeds in the brain. Bleeding in the brain leads to dead brain cells. There are two types of weakened blood vessels that cause hemorrhagic stroke:
 
Aneurysm: An inflated weakened blood vessel that if untreated, will burst and bleed into the brain.
 
Arteriovenous malformation: A cluster of abnormally formed blood vessels. Any of the vessels can rupture causing bleeding in the brain.
 
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
A transient ischemic attack is very similar to an ischemic stroke, occurring when a clot blocks the blood flow to the brain. A TIA, or mini-stroke, is a temporary blockage and does not lead to any brain damage. People who experience a mini-stroke have a greater chance of having a more serious stroke.
 
Seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know is experiencing one of the signs of stroke. If it is a stroke, the best chance for recovery is to receive treatment within the first three hours after your symptoms behind. Even if your symptoms have passed, call 911 immediately.
 
Lovelace Medical Center is accredited as a primary stroke center by DNV-GL and specializes in stroke care. To learn more about our Stroke Center, please visit //www.lovelace.com/medical-services/stroke-and-neurology/stroke-center

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