One of the leading causes of death is a stroke. It is a condition wherein your blood supply is reduced or interrupted, which results in the deprivation of nutrients and oxygen in your brain tissue. It is life-threatening because your brain cells can die within minutes during the stroke.
The problem is that a stroke is unpredictable. The moment the blood flow is cut off, the brain cells start to die, which removes your control in your body. On a brighter note, there are ways that you can do to reduce your chances of having a stroke.
The Two Types of Stroke
Before learning about the signs, treatment, and recovery of stroke, you should know that there are two types of stroke: hemorrhagic and ischemic.
1. Hemorrhagic stroke
This type of stroke can be from a blood vessel leak or a brain aneurysm. When this occurs, the blood spills in your brain. The spill creates a pressure that could damage your brain cells and tissues. Your brain will stop working correctly during this time.
Although hemorrhagic stroke is a rare case, it is responsible for 40% of stroke deaths. Take note that the usual cause of this stroke is aging blood vessels as well as high blood pressure. Another cause could be arteriovenous malformation (AVM). This is a condition when there is an abnormal connection between your veins and arteries. If you have a thin blood, head injury, or bleeding disorders, then consult with your doctor as these can be causes of hemorrhagic stroke.
2. Ischemic stroke
You have a tendency to experience this type of stroke when the blood vessels moving to your brain are blocked by a blood clot. This enables the blood vessels to go to your brain thus could lead to stroke. There are two types of ischemic stroke: embolic and thrombotic stroke.
Embolic is when the blood clot forms in other parts of your body and moves to your brain. Usually, in this type of stroke, the clot starts from the heart. On the other hand, thrombotic stroke is when the blood forms in the arteries.
It is important to note that those with high blood pressure are most likely to have an ischemic stroke.
Causes of Stroke
As mentioned, some of the causes of stroke are high blood pressure and AVM. But there is another cause called the transient ischemic attack (TIA). Also called a mini-stroke, the transient ischemic attack is when there is a decrease in the blood supply of your brain. The stroke can last for a few minutes.
Just like ischemic stroke, TIA happens when there is a blood clot in the passageway to the nervous system. If your doctor has found TIA in your body, there is a possibility that you can have a full-blown stroke in the near future.
Another cause is smoking. This is because the nicotine that is found on cigarettes can increase your blood pressure. Smoking can also develop a clot in your arteries that can lead to stroke. Be wary, though, second-hand smoking can be a cause of stroke as well.
In addition, heart diseases can lead to stroke. If you have defective heart valves, irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, and clogged articles, you have a higher chance of having a stroke. Being overweight and diabetic will not let you escape from stroke as well. This is because diabetes can damage your blood vessels whereas having high blood sugar levels can be a risk factor for brain injury.
Surprisingly, there are medications that could result in a stroke. If you already have a stroke then it is best that you stay away from blood-thinning drugs, low-dose estrogen, and hormone therapy. There are also instances when having a stroke is hereditary, especially when your family has diabetes.
Even gender and races can be factors. Women are most likely to have a stroke than men. Older women are the usual victims which make it harder to cure and hence lead to death. Meanwhile, African-Americans and those who are living in Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean are prone to stroke.
Signs of a Stroke
Stroke just happens randomly. There are no long moments of pain or irritation before it actually starts. When you feel any of the following, it means that you are experiencing stroke:
- Suddenly having troubles speaking
- Sudden weakness or numbness in your leg, arm, or face. Usually, this happens on one side of your body.
- Suddenly feeling a severe headache
- Suddenly having troubles in seeing
- Having troubles in walking
The best thing that you can do during this time is to call emergency or any family relative close to you.
Stroke Recovery and Treatment
The treatment for stroke will depend on its type—either hemorrhagic or ischemic. Learn how you can treat yourself and preventions from this condition below.
- Emergency treatment for ischemic stroke. During the attack, doctors would recommend that you take clot-busting drugs within 4 hours. You can take tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). This is usually injected into your arm that will restore the blood flow in your body.
- Sending medications directly to your brain. A catheter will be inserted in your artery to your brain to deliver tissue plasminogen activator.
- Remove the clot. There can also be an instance when the doctor will use the catheter to remove the clot. This is usually done to patients with big clots.
- Use of carotid endarterectomy. During this procedure, the surgeon will eliminate the plaques in your arteries. Although this might reduce the risk of having stoke, it might bring out risks for those with heart diseases.
Other treatments would include angioplasty and surgical blood vessel repair. You can, however, not undergo these procedures if you are able to prevent stroke.
Keep a healthy diet, exercise regularly, stop smoking, and minimize drinking alcohol to reduce the risk of having a stroke. When you’re in stroke recovery, it is important to continue doing all these as well to decrease chances of another stroke attack.