What Is A Stroke?
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel, which brings oxygen and nutrients to the brain, bursts or is clogged.
As a result, part of the brain does not get the blood, oxygen, and nutrients that it needs.
The nerve cells in the affected part of the brain cannot work without oxygen and die as a result, which causes the part of the body that it controls to die as well.
Dead brain cells cannot be replaced. (3, 34, 35)
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Different Types Of Strokes
Ischemic stroke: These strokes account for 83% of all stroke case. Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots or other particles, which block blood flow in an artery brining blood to the brain. They usually form in arteries which are damaged by fatty build-up, called atherosclerosis.(3, 14, 34)
The fatty buildups can cause two types of obstructions
1. Cerebral Thrombosis: Refers to a blood clot that develops at the clogged part of the vessel. They usually occur at night or first thing in the morning when blood pressure is low.
2. Cerebral Embolism: Refers to a blood clot that forms at another location, such as in the heart and arteries of the upper chest and/or neck. Cerebral embolism is also defined as a wandering clot. The clot is carried in the bloodstream until it is stuck in an artery leading to the brain, which blocks the blood flow. Another cause of embolism is atrial fibrillation, also known as an irregular heart beat. (3, 14, 34)
Hemorrhage Stroke: These strokes account for 17% of all cases. They occur when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and then bleeds into the brain. When the artery burst, blood surrounds the tissue.
There are two types of weakened blood vessels that cause stroke: aneurysms and ateriovenous malformations (AVM’S).
1. Anerurysms is a “ballooning” of a weakend part of the blood vessel. If it is untreated the blood vessel continues to weaken until it ruptures and bleeds into the brain.
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2. AVM is a “cluster” of abnormal blood vessels. Any of these blood vessels can rupture, which may leak into the brain.
Hemorrhage may also occur due to a head injury. (3, 14, 34)
Transient Ischemic Attacks
These can be described as "mini strokes." The only difference is that in TIA'S the blood clots only lasts for a short time and is able to resolve itself
Experiencing a TIA is a strong indication that a major stroke will occur. They should not be ignored. (3, 14, 34, 37)
Warning Signs of a Stroke
The symptoms usually appear suddenly.
- Numbness or paralysis on one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Vision impairment
- Severe headache
If you are experiencing or see any of these symptoms call 911 ! (3, 34)
Effects of Stroke
The effects of a stroke depend on its location in the brain. The brain controls many body functions and when blood flow cannot reach the area it controls, that part of the body does not work as effectively. Injured and dead brain cells also cannot heal themselves. Many stroke survivors have difficulty performing activities of daily living (ADL) such as: rolling in bed, standing up on their own, or taking a shower. The effects of a stroke can be temporary or long lasting and recovery takes months or years.
Left Side Of The Brain
The right side of the body and left side of the face will be affected.
Injury to the left side of the brain is more “devastating” than to the right side of the brain. Injury to the left side of the brain is associated with deficits in visual perception, hand-eye coordination, judgment, distraction by verbalization, a short attention span, paralysis on right side of the body, and memory loss.
Right Side Of The Brain
The left side of the body and the right side of the face will be affected.
With a right side of the brain injury, there usually is difficult initiating tasks, low frustration levels, vision problems, memory loss, and paralysis on left side of the body. However, individuals are able to function and learn normally.