A stroke a medical emergency that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Without blood, brain functions get disrupted, and blood cells start dying. The death of brain cells can result in eventual death, lasting disability, memory loss, numbness of one side of the body and confusion. There are two core types of strokes namely Ischemic stroke and Hemorrhagic stroke. Details of the strokes mentioned earlier are listed below:
These are the most common types of strokes. This kind of stroke results from the presence of a blood clot in a blood vessel that transports blood to the brain thus inhibiting blood flow to the brain. The blood clot comes about as a result of a fatty substance(plaque) collecting in the blood vessels and narrows them leading to the eventual blockage of the vessel. The consequential closure of the blood vessels is commonly known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis eventually leads to slow blood flow.
An Ischemic stroke may occur to a healthy person who has had specific prescriptions for a particular medication. An example of the medicine could be an estrogen replacement therapy which increases the risk of blood clot formation.
There are three types of ischemic stroke which include:
- Thrombotic Stroke
This type of ischemic stroke occurs due to a clot forming in a blood vessel transporting blood to the brain, and it has not traveled from another part of the body. Arteries having large amounts of fat droplets(plaques) are mostly affected. A thrombotic stroke does not go away without treatment.
- Embolic strokes
These strokes are as a result of blood clots traveling from another part of the body going to the brain through blood vessels. Among the common causes of an embolic stroke is an irregular heart rhythm (Atrial Fibrillation).
- Transient Ischemic Attack(TIA)
These are episodes in which an individual has the signs and symptoms of a stroke that last for a short period. A temporary clot in any of the blood vessels taking blood to the mind causes a TIA. TIA signs could continue for a few minutes or hours after which one entirely recovers. A TIA serves as a warning that a person is at a high risk of getting a stroke. The risk can be eliminated or reduced if treatment gets provided immediately.
A TIA is treated using antiplatelets and anticoagulants. Antiplatelets reduce the likelihood of platelets sticking together to cause a clot while anticoagulants minimize the buildup of clotting proteins.
Treatment may vary according to the individuals’ medical history and also on time is taken to take them to hospital. If taken to hospital within three hours of the attack, the doctor can administer a tissue plasminogen activator(TPA), and it can dissolve the clot.
Risk factors associated with Ischemic stroke include Illegal drug use, lack of exercise and an inactive lifestyle, obesity, family history of a stroke, an age of over 40 years, heart disease, smoking, diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels and current or a history of blood clots.
A hemorrhagic stroke arises from the rupture or breaking of a blood vessel inside the brain resulting to blood spillage into the surrounding tissue. Blood vessel rupture can lead to pressure building within the brain, and it could cause damage to the brain. Also, since blood is irritating to the mind, it can cause it to swell.
A hemorrhaging stroke may occur if a person has a weakness in the wall of a blood vessel even though previous stroke symptoms are absent. The leading cause of a hemorrhaging stroke is uncontrolled high blood pressure.
There are two types of Hemorrhagic strokes namely:
- Intracerebral Hemorrhage
This stoke is where bleeding occurs within the brain, and as a result, the brain gets damaged as blood collects and applies pressure to the surrounding tissue. It could be as a result of injury, deformities in blood vessels, or high blood pressure.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
It arises when a blood vessel within the surface of the brain ruptures and blood causes pressure between the two layers which cover the brain. Its most common symptom is a severe headache (A thunderclap headache) which is mostly described by patients as the nastiest headache of their lives.
The risk factors associated with Hemorrhagic stroke include the use of blood-thinning medicines or warfarin, high blood pressure, illegal drug use and smoking.
The treatment method for hemorrhagic stroke involves stopping the bleeding in the patient’s brain and reduction in the side effects caused by the bleeding. The surgical procedures to stop bleeding include surgical coiling or clipping and are designed to prevent the blood vessel from further bleeding.
To reduce possible risks of having a stroke attack, one needs to eat healthily, increase the physical activity you indulge in, stop the use of illegal drugs, reduce blood pressure levels by taking prescribed medicine doses and reducing the intake of binge drinks.
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