Stroke

Immediate Medical Care is Essential
For the Best Outcome

What is a Stroke?

Strokes are one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. A stroke can result in permanent disability in about 2/3 of cases.

Immediate medical care is essential for the best outcome. The sooner the patient is assessed and treated, the less likelihood there is of complications.

A stroke is an event that happens in the brain. Blood flow is blocked or stopped in a particular area. The brain loses access to oxygen and nutrients.

Blood clots or hemorrhage can cause the blood flow interruption. During a stroke, brain cells die. This starts to happen in just minutes.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Every 40 seconds someone In the United States has a stroke. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk. But not all attacks are preventable. Unfortunately, in many cases, permanent disabilities occur.

Can You Recover from a Stroke?

Recovery from a stroke depends on many factors, including one’s age, the type of attack, and its location in the brain.

But there is some good news. Damaged brain cells can regenerate. This happens at the greatest rate in the first four months following the stroke. And cell recovery can take place throughout the second year.

This means that some patients can continue to improve for quite some time.

Risk Factors for Stroke

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and keeping medical problems under control, will reduce your risk.

Try to avoid these risky lifestyle factors:

Keep these medical conditions under control:

Risk factors for stroke that cannot be controlled:

Some risk factors simply can’t be controlled such as the history of a prior stroke. An individual is at a higher risk for having a second stroke if they already had one. Other risk factors that can’t be changed include:

Men have a slightly higher risk than women at most ages, but more women die of stroke than men. A woman’s risk increases during pregnancy, when taking oral contraceptives, if there is a history of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia/eclampsia, or if she is receiving post-menopausal hormone therapy.

What Are the Warning Signals of a Stroke?

When someone is having an attack, many symptoms are obvious if you know what to look for.

Common symptoms of a stroke include:

What To Do If You Suspect a Stroke

The EMS workers will know if there’s a stroke center nearby. They will collect important information on the way and alert hospital staff. This way treatment can be started immediately upon the patient’s arrival.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of immediate care.

Act fast! Call 911.

Stroke Treatment

Depending upon the hospital evaluation, medication or surgery may be needed.

Clot-busting medications can be very effective if given within 3 hours of onset. These medications aren’t useful in all cases.

Many patients will need some form of rehabilitation to ensure an optimal recovery. Hospital social workers can help you find services and at-home support.

The patient also needs to learn the necessary steps to prevent another event from occurring.

Types of Strokes

Ischemic Strokes

Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke. Blood clots are often the cause of a blockage of blood flow through the artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

This stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures inside the brain. Leaked blood puts excessive pressure on brain cells causing damage. Often the victim gets a sudden intense headache along with typical stroke symptoms.

Transient Ischemic Stroke (TIA)

Also called a “mini -stroke”, a TIA occurs when blood flow to the brain is only blocked for a short time. There is no lasting brain damage, but it is a warning sign and should be treated.

Brain Stem Stroke

A brain stem stroke occurs when there is a bleed in the brain stem or blood flow is interrupted. Many essential body functions can be affected;  Like all strokes, it requires immediate medical attention.

Complications of a Stroke

With early intervention, a complete recovery may be possible. The development of complications depends on many factors such as type of event and duration of attack. Some complications include:

If You See Warning Signs of a Stroke, B.E. F.A.S.T.

Remember this acronym and you can save a life.

Balance—Is the person having trouble standing or balancing themselves?

Eyesight—Is vision affected? Is there a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes?

Face—If the person smiles, does half of the smile droop? Is one side of the face sagging?

Arms—Ask them to lift both arms up. Are they unable to lift an arm, or does one arm drop?

Speech—Is speech slow, slurred, or confused?

Time. There’s no time to waste if any of the five above conditions are present. Immediately call 911.

Stroke is a medical emergency which requires prompt attention. When patients are able to get to the hospital fast enough, a medication can be given to break up the clot and minimize long term disability. The longer you wait, the greater the damage.

Don’t delay treatment!