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    Causes And Prevention Of Stroke


    A stroke is a medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked or reduced, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. During a stroke, parts of the brain become damaged or may even die, which can lead to long-term brain damage, disability, and death. This is due to the lack of oxygen that the brain receives from the arteries, as clogged arteries cannot deliver the necessary amount of oxygen-rich blood.


    Types Of Stroke

    An ischemic stroke is the most common form of stroke, and it occurs when blood clots or other particles cause a blocked artery in the blood vessels leading to the brain. This prevents the brain tissue from receiving the oxygen and other nutrients it requires to function.

    A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a ruptured artery begins to leak blood into the brain which puts excessive pressure onto the brain cells, causing the cells to become damaged.

    A transient ischemic attack (TIA or “ministroke”) is a temporary experience of symptoms similar to a stroke, although it does not lead to any lasting damage.


    Risk Factors For Stroke

    There are many factors that can increase your risk of experiencing a stroke. These include obesity, physical inactivity, overconsumption of alcohol, use of illegal drugs, cigarette smoking, and exposure to secondhand smoke. Medical risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease, family history of stroke, and previous COVID-19 infections. Other factors associated with an increased risk of stroke include your age, race, gender, and use of birth control pills or hormone therapy.


    Causes Of Stroke

    For an ischemic stroke, it is caused by the narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels in the brain which leads to severely reduced blood flow. Blocked or narrowed arteries are caused by fatty deposits, also known as plaque, that build up in blood vessels. They can also be caused by blood clots or other debris that has traveled from other areas of the body and reached the blood vessels in the brain.

    A hemorrhagic stroke can be caused by many different factors that may lead to a ruptured artery. These include untreated high blood pressure, overuse of blood thinners, physical trauma such as a car accident, and protein deposits in blood vessel walls that weaken the walls. It may also be caused by an ischemic stroke that leads to hemorrhaging or a bulge at the weak spots in your blood vessel walls, known as aneurysms, rupturing the arterial walls.

    A TIA or ministroke is caused by a temporary decrease in blood supply to the brain, which may last as little as five minutes. Similarly to an ischemic stroke, this occurs when a blood clot or other debris blocks blood flow to your brain or nervous system, although in this case, it is only partially blocked. Having a TIA increases your chances of suffering from a regular stroke.


    Symptoms Of Stroke

    When experiencing a stroke, it’s important to note the exact time your symptoms began, as certain treatment options are most effective when given as soon as possible after the stroke begins. Signs and symptoms of stroke include headaches, trouble walking, and problems seeing in one or both eyes, such as blurred or blackened vision or seeing double.

    You may also experience paralysis or numbness in your face, arms, or legs which often affects only one side of the body. To test this, try and raise both arms over your head simultaneously; if one arm begins to fall, you may be experiencing a stroke. You may also notice that one side of your face droops when you try to smile. If you believe you or a loved one are suffering from a stroke, call 911 immediately.


    Complications Of Stroke

    Depending on how long your brain was cut off from oxygen and blood supply, you may suffer from temporary or permanent disabilities after experiencing a stroke. These complications include pain, difficulty talking or swallowing, emotional issues, memory loss or reduction of cognitive abilities, paralysis or loss of muscle movement, and changes in your behavior and self-care ability.


    Prevention Of Stroke

    The methods of prevention for stroke are similar to prevention for heart disease. They include a variety of lifestyle recommendations such as managing your blood pressure and cholesterol, maintaining a healthy weight, managing diabetes, eating a healthy diet, receiving treatment for sleep apnea, and avoiding alcohol, illegal drugs, and tobacco.

    If you’ve experienced a TIA or ischemic stroke, your doctor may also recommend that you take prescribed medications to reduce your risk of another stroke. These medications include anti-platelet drugs, which may prevent blood clots from forming, and anticoagulants, which reduce blood clotting.


    Testing For Stroke

    When you get to the hospital to receive treatment for your stroke, your doctor will conduct a variety of tests to determine what type of stroke you are experiencing. These tests can include a physical exam, blood tests, CT scan, MRI, carotid ultrasound, cerebral angiogram, and echocardiogram.


    Treatment For Stroke

    Emergency treatment for your stroke depends on whether your stroke is ischemic or hemorrhagic. For an ischemic stroke, doctors must work quickly to restore blood flow to your brain. They can accomplish this through emergency IV medication, carotid endarterectomy, an angioplasty, or endovascular procedures such as delivering medication directly to your brain through a catheter or removing the clot with a stent retriever.

    For a hemorrhagic stroke, you may be given blood transfusions or medication to lower the pressure in your brain. Your doctor may also have to conduct other treatments such as surgery, surgical clipping, coiling, surgical AVM removal, and stereotactic radiosurgery.

    The most important part of treatment for your stroke is that it is conducted in a timely manner to reduce the risk of permanent debilitating effects.

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