A stroke is a condition in which the brain cells suddenly die because of a lack of oxygen. This can be caused by an obstruction in the blood flow, or the rupture of an artery that feeds the brain. The patient may suddenly lose the ability to speak, there may be memory problems, or one side of the body can become paralyzed.
- The two main types of stroke include ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
- Ischemic stroke accounts for about three-quarters of all strokes and occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, forms that blocks blood flow to part of the brain. If a blood clot forms somewhere in the body and breaks off to become free-floating, it is called an embolus. This wandering clot may be carried through the bloodstream to the brain where it can cause ischemic stroke.
- A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel on the brain’s surface ruptures and fills the space between the brain and skull with blood (subarachnoid hemorrhage) or when a defective artery in the brain bursts and fills the surrounding tissue with blood (cerebral haemorrhage).
Both types of stroke result in a lack of blood flow to the brain and a buildup of blood that puts too much pressure on the brain.
The outcome after a stroke depends on where the stroke occurs and how much of the brain is affected. Smaller strokes may result in minor problems, such as weakness in an arm or leg. Larger strokes may lead to paralysis or death. Many stroke patients are left with weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, incontinence, and bladder problems.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Smoking cigarettes
- Obesity and overweight
- Cardiovascular disease
- A previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- High levels of homocysteine (an amino acid in blood)
- Birth control use or other hormone therapy
- Cocaine use
- Heavy use of alcohol
- Within a few minutes of having a stroke, brain cells begin to die and symptoms can become present. Common symptoms include:
- Dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance and coordination
- Speech problems
- Numbness, weakness, or paralysis on one side of the body
- Blurred, blackened, or double vision
- Sudden severe headache
Smaller strokes (or silent strokes), however, may not cause any symptoms, but can still damage brain tissue.
A possible sign that a stroke is about to occur is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) – a temporary interruption in blood flow to part of the brain. Symptoms of TIA are similar to stroke but last for a shorter time period and do not leave noticeable permanent damage.
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Gait training
- Balance and disorder training.
How can stroke be prevented?
One way to prevent a stroke is to notice a transient ischemic attack (TIA) – or mini stroke – that provides symptoms similar to stroke. Knowing the symptoms of stroke can lead to earlier treatment and better recovery.
- Much of stroke prevention is based on living a healthy lifestyle. This includes:
- Knowing and controlling blood pressure
- Finding out if you have atrial fibrillation
- Not smoking
- Lowering cholesterol, sodium, and fat intake
- Following a healthy diet. If you eat plenty of tomatoes risk of stroke reduces
- Drinking alcohol only in moderation
- Treating diabetes properly
- Exercise regularly moderate aerobics
- Managing stress
- Not using drugs
- A study found that drinking three cups of tea per day reduces the risk of stroke
- Taking preventive medications such as anti-platelet and anticoagulant drugs to prevent blood clots