Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the first cause of disability in the United States, with about 795,000 people suffering each year.
A stroke occurs when the cerebral blood vessels bursts, causing cerebral hemorrhage, or a blockage of a cerebral blood vessel. The amount of oxygen, blood, and nutrients reaching the brain decreases. If the stroke is not diagnosed and treated within three to four minutes, brain cells always damage and die.
There are several stroke causes, including:
• Blockage of small cerebral vessels
• A clot from the carotid artery
• Brain hemorrhage due to high pressure, head injury, blood vessel explosion, or anticoagulants.
There are three main types of stroke:
Are the most common strokes of the brain (representing 80% of strokes), formed because of blocking or narrowing in one of the cerebral arteries, and takes Ischemic stroke is two forms:
1- Thrombotic Stroke
occur because of the presence of the blood clot in one of the arteries that supply the brain with blood and oxygen, and fatty deposits accumulated on the wall of the artery in what is known as atherosclerosis, which leads to a decrease in blood flow to the brain.
2- Embolic Stroke
A blood clot that is far from the brain is usually in the heart, and the blood clot or its debris moves with the bloodstream to settle into one of the brain arteries.
Hemorrhagic stroke caused by the explosion of a cerebral blood vessel, because of the expansion of the vessel or the presence of deformities in the blood vessel. It takes two forms:
1- Intracerebral Hemorrhage
In which the cerebral blood vessels bursts, leading to brain damage, because:
- Using anticoagulants
- skull trauma
- The presence of vascular abnormalities
Bleeding occurs between the brain and the surrounding membrane due to:
- A bulge in the wall of the blood vessel, Leading to its weakness and explosion
- The presence of abnormalities in the blood vessels
- Accident or skull injury
Transient Ischemic Stroke
Transient ischemic stroke occurs due to decrease blood flow to the brain and then flows naturally again after a short period of time not exceeding five minutes, and symptoms disappear in less than 24 hours.
Causes of Transient ischemic stroke :
- Blockage of an artery that supplies the brain with blood due to a blood clot or its debris in a location far from the brain, such as the heart, and then moves with the bloodstream to settle in one of the brain arteries.
- Slow blood flow in a narrow part of a large artery such as the carotid artery.
- Narrowing of the small blood vessels of the brain (due to fatty deposits).
The stroke symptoms are sudden; usually, develop within hours and rarely continue to evolve for days. These symptoms include:
- Sudden speech disorder and difficulty in understanding what a person is saying.
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the body, especially on one side.
- Sudden blindness (often in one eye) or double vision.
- Problems with walking; because of dizziness and feeling of unbalancing
- The patient can feel a severe headache.
Risk factors for Stroke
There are many risk factors that increase the chances of stroke that can be avoided or treated:
- Drink alcohol.
- Take drugs.
- Saturated fat, salt
- Increase blood cholesterol
- Congestive heart
- Family history of stroke or transient stroke
- At age 55, the risk of infection increases
- Sex, men are more likely to develop a stroke than women
- The use of hormonal contraceptives
- Sickle cell anemia
Stroke treatment depends on the type of stroke. Receiving immediate and urgent medical assistance immediately after stroke is very vital and decisive.
Ischemic Stroke Treatment
Antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin are given to prevent further strokes and anticoagulants such as warfarin are given intravenously for rapid action. Earlier the timing, the better the results are in saving the patient, minimizing the complications that may occur.
Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment
The treatment depends on reducing the pressure in the brain and blood pressure by giving antihypertensive drugs and anticonvulsants. When the bleeding stops, care is given to absorb the blood in the body. If bleeding is severe, the doctor may seek to remove it surgically.
Stroke prevention is important for all people, but more so for people who have had a previous transient stroke, even ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, people with various heart conditions, significant hypertension, elevated body fat or obese people.
There are several things that a person must do to prevent a stroke, including:
- Control of high blood pressure.
- Control of high cholesterol in the blood
- Quit smoking and drinking alcohol
- Exercise permanently and increase the physical activity of the body
- Eat healthily