WHAT IS A STROKE?
Knowledge is power. Many stroke victims that die each year would be alive if they, or someone close to them had known what to do. If you believe someone is having a stroke, call 911 immediately.
A stroke is a medical emergency. Most often, stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted because it is blocked by a clot. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. The cells that have not died immediately remain at risk for death. With timely treatment, these cells can be saved. Immediate treatment of a stroke could mean the difference between life and death. Knowing stroke symptoms, calling 911 immediately, and getting to a hospital as quickly as possible are critical.
TYPES OF STROKES
There are two kinds of stroke. The most common kind of stroke is called ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when blood clots block arteries to your brain. About 80 percent of strokes are ischemic.
Medication can help dissolve clots and restore blood flow. But, you need to receive it as soon as possible.
The second kind of stroke is called hemorrhagic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel or aneurysm that leaks or ruptures in the brain. About 20 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a stroke that comes and goes quickly. TIA's happen when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in your brain. This causes the blood supply to the brain to stop briefly. Symptoms of a TIA are like other stroke symptoms, but do not last as long. Most symptoms of a TIA disappear within an hour, although they may last for up to 24 hours. Because you cannot tell if these symptoms are from a TIA or a stroke, you should get to the hospital quickly.
TIAs are often a warning sign for future strokes. Taking medicine, such as blood thinners prescribed by your physician, may reduce your risk of a stroke.
Surgery may be necessary to fix damaged vessels and remove blood in the brain. Medication to help control bleeding may be used, too.
Because stroke injures the brain, you many not realize that you are having a stroke. To a bystander, someone having a stroke may just look unaware or confused. Stroke victims have the best chance if someone around them recognizes the symptoms and acts fast.
Although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. The effects of a stroke range from mild to severe and can include problems moving the arms and legs, problems with thinking, problems with speaking, and emotional problems. Patients may also experience pain or numbness after a stroke.
The GOOD NEWS is that treatments are available that can greatly reduce the damage caused by a stroke. New technologies and treatment options can greatly reduce the debilitating effects of stroke. However, you need to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and get to a hospital quickly. Getting treatment as soon as possible minimizes disability.