When blood flow to a portion of the brain is cut off, a stroke develops. Sometimes a stroke is referred to as a “brain attack.” The brain cannot receive nutrients and oxygen if blood flow is interrupted for a period of time longer than a few seconds. Death of brain cells can lead to long-term harm. A brain blood artery that bursts and causes internal bleeding can also cause a stroke.
Causes of Stroke
The two main forms of stroke are:
An ischemic stroke happens when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel that carries blood to the brain. Two things could lead to this:
An artery that is already quite narrow may develop a clot. This type of stroke is thrombotic.
A clot may form somewhere in the brain’s blood vessels or in another area of the body, break off, and move up to the brain. An embolic stroke or cerebral embolism is what this is.
Plaque, a sticky substance that can obstruct arteries, can also result in ischemic strokes.
When a blood artery in a specific area of the brain becomes frail and bursts open, it causes a hemorrhagic stroke. As a result, blood leaks into the brain. This is more likely in some persons because of abnormalities in the brain’s blood vessels. These flaws could consist of:
Aneurysm (weak area in the wall of a blood vessel that causes the blood vessel to bulge or balloon out).
Venous malformation arteries (AVM; abnormal connection between the arteries and veins).
Amyloid angiopathy in the brain (CAA; a condition in which proteins called amyloid build up on the walls of the arteries in the brain).
Additionally, when someone is on blood thinners like warfarin, hemorrhagic strokes can happen (Coumadin). Hemorrhagic stroke can result from extremely high blood pressure, which can cause blood vessels to explode.
A hemorrhagic stroke can occur from an ischemic stroke due to hemorrhage.
Having high blood pressure increases your risk of having a stroke. Other significant risk elements include:
Stroke history in the family
Maleness High cholesterol
Aging, especially beyond the age of 55
Ethnicity (African Americans are more likely to die of a stroke)
Previous stroke or transient ischemic attack history (occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a brief time)
Symptoms of Stroke
The location of the injured brain depends on the symptoms of a stroke. A person may occasionally be unaware that they have had a stroke.
The majority of the time, symptoms appear unexpectedly and out of the blue. For the first day or two, though, symptoms could come and go. When a stroke initially occurs, symptoms are typically at their worst, though they might progressively worsen.
If brain hemorrhage contributed to the stroke, a headache can develop. The migrain begins abruptly and could be severe, possibly worse if you’re lying flat. Wakes you up from sleep and gets worse when you bend, cough, or shift positions.
Tests and Exams of Stroke
During the physical examination, the doctor will:
Examine your eyesight, movement, reflexes, sensation, understanding, and speaking for any issues. This examination will be repeated over time by your doctor and nurses to determine whether your stroke is becoming better or worse.
With a stethoscope, listen for an unusual sound, termed a bruit, which is brought on by irregular blood flow, in the carotid arteries in the neck. For high blood pressure, check.