Cerebrovascular Disease / Stroke
A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is disrupted; this deprives the brain of sufficient oxygen and nutrient levels, causing brain cells to die. A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment to help prevent complications such as muscle paralysis, memory loss and permanent brain damage.
There are several different types of strokes, but nearly 80 percent of all cases are ischemic strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when the arteries leading to the brain become blocked and blood flow is restricted, causing cells to die quickly. Other strokes may occur from too much blood in the brain after a blood vessel leaks or ruptures, or after a temporary decrease in blood supply to the brain, which may cause a mini-stroke.
A stroke can cause many serious symptoms and may come on suddenly, so it is important to take action as soon as symptoms appear. Symptoms of a stroke include:
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty speaking
- Numbness on one side of the body
- Blurred or blackened vision
Strokes occur most often in people over the age of 55, with high blood pressure and cholesterol and a family history of stroke or heart attack.
In order to treat a stroke, proper blood flow must be restored to the brain. This can be done through aspirin or other medication if the stroke is detected early enough. Surgical procedures to expand blocked arteries or control excess bleeding are most commonly used to treat a stroke.
Many people are able to successfully recover from a stroke, depending on how much brain damage occurred. It is important to make an effort to regain independence and functionality, while also taking steps to prevent a future stroke or heart attack through maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.