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Common questions about stroke

 

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. When a stroke occurs, brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they no longer receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to function.

 

What happens during a stroke?

When a stroke occurs the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted. Brain cells die when they no longer receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood or if there is sudden bleeding into or around the brain.

 

What are the types of strokes?

A stroke can occur in two ways. In an ischemic stroke, a blood clot blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. About 80 percent of all strokes are ischemic. In an hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel in the brain breaks and bleeds into the brain. About 20 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic.

 

What are the symptoms of stroke?

What makes stroke symptoms distinct is their sudden onset:

  • Numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg 

  • Trouble speaking 

  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.

  • Severe headache with no known cause

 

Why is there a need to act quickly during a stroke?

Clot busting drugs for ischemic strokes need to be given within four and a half hours of the symptoms appearing. The sooner treatment is given, the better the chances of survival with fewer signs of disability.

 

What are the risk factors for stroke?

There are things you can do to prevent stroke. High blood pressure increases your risk of stroke four to six times. Heart disease, especially a condition known as atrial fibrillation or AF, can double your risk of stroke. Your risk also increases if you smoke, have diabetes, sickle cell disease, high cholesterol, or a family history of stroke.

 

What is the outcome for stroke?

After having a stroke, a person may be left with some disability, paralysis, brain or speech problems.

 

If I had a stroke will I have another one?

There is no sure way to know if you are going to have another stroke. However, it has been shown that once you’ve had one stroke you are at an increased risk to have another one. The best way to decrease your chances of having more strokes is to manage your risk factors and consult with your neurologist.

 

 

How can I prevent stroke?

Prevention is the most effective treatment for stroke, that is, prevention of the event or prevention of extension of brain damage following stroke. The most meaningful efforts in prevention of stroke are up to us. These include controlling high blood pressure (hypertension), cessation of smoking, maintaining low cholesterol levels and normal weight, regular physical activity and treatment of heart disorders.

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