What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is impeded or reduced, often caused by blockage in a blood vessel. Because blood is responsible for carrying oxygen to the brain, any interruption in that process can cause damage to the brain very quickly. Then, the part of the body connected to the damaged brain area will no longer be able to function properly.
Because brain damage can happen so quickly during a stroke, prompt action is vital. Administering treatment at the onset of symptoms can help to minimize brain damage and promote recovery.
What are the symptoms of stroke?
Symptoms of a stroke happen quickly. If any of the following symptoms suddenly occur, seek medical attention immediately. A stroke may cause:
- Loss of sensation, weakness or paralysis in your face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side of your body.
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Difficulty speaking, slurring or trouble comprehending what others are saying.
- Trouble with walking or balance.
- A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.
- If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. Even symptoms that appear and then seem to go away could be sign that a stroke is impending. From the onset of symptoms, you have three hours to receive treatment for maximum recovery. Do not wait to see if symptoms subside.
How is a stroke diagnosed?
To find out what kind of stroke it is, the doctor will do a type of X-ray called a CT scan of the brain, which can show if there is bleeding. The doctor may order other tests to find the location of the clot or bleeding, check for the amount of brain damage, and check for other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to a stroke.
What factors may increase the risk for stroke?
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Being overweight or obese
- Sleep Apnea
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heavy alcohol consumption or binge drinking
- Illicit drug use
- Personal or Family history of stroke or heart attack
- Being over the age of 55