The first question one might ask, is "what is a stroke." We hear the term often but may not know exactly what it is. A stroke is a temporary or permanent interruption of the supply of blood going to the brain. It can be caused either by a blood vessel bursting or by one being clogged. Basically it is either a clot which blocks the vessel or atherosclerosis which is clogging of the arteries. The degree of damage will be based on the length of time that flow is interrupted. Some of the damage is permanent and other damage can be temporary.
By transporting a patient quickly to the emergency room you may be able to prevent extensive, permanent damage in some cases.
Substances such as fat and cholesterol will stick to the vessels that are in and around the heart. A small clot that may be formed may possibly completely clog that vessel causing an ischemic stroke. If the blood vessel breaks open it is a hemorrhagic stroke. This is usually due to weakness in the vessels of the brain.
The risk of stroke is increased by several health factors.
- Family history
- The presence of Heart Disease
- High Cholesterol
- As we age we become more likely to have a stroke
There are also medications that may increase the risk. One is birth control pills. Women over thirty five who are taking oral birth control should not be smoking. The pills alone can cause clots, and the smoking increases the risk of clots.
There are things that will increase your risk of stroke.
- Bleeding disorders are a risk.
- Excessive use of alcohol.
- The use of cocaine.
- Any injury to the head.
These risks are the ones that cause a bleeding within the brain.
Prevention begins at home, just as it does for many illnesses. Proper diet, control of your weight, partaking of some exercises are just a few. By maintaining your weight, it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other circulatory problems. Exercise will increase your oxygenation and your blood flow and help to keep your heart stronger.
The area of the brain that is damaged will influence the symptoms that a patient has. They will most likely occur without any warning or possibly recur for several days. The symptoms that do occur are usually worse when it first happens but may increase over a period of time.
- Headache: This may start suddenly and will occur even when lying flat. It is possible to be awakened by the severity of the pain. It worsens with any movement.
- Numbness or tingling may occur on one side of your body.
- There may be weakness on either side of the body.
- Hearing can also be impaired.
- The ability to speak can be impaired as well as comprehending what others are saying.
- Loss of your coordination and balance
- Difficulty walking.
- You may lose control of your bowel or bladder.
- Your sense of touch, pain and other tactile factors will not be as acute as normal.
Be alert for any of these symptoms.