What Is a Stroke?
A blood flow blockage in the brain can cause an individual to have a stroke. The medical term for strokes is ischemia. Ischemia can be the result of a hemorrhage or bleeding in the brain. This is caused by a blood vessel bursting or leaking in the brain due to an injury, disease or aging. An arterial embolism is another common cause of ischemia. The embolus is usually a blood clot that is blocking flow of blood through blood vessels. Other varieties of embolisms include septic, air, fat and cholesterol formations. Thrombosis is also a blood clot formation. However, a thrombosis forms in the vein instead of traveling from another location. A trauma injury to the brain can also disrupt blood flow causing an ischemia. In many cases of ischemia, physicians are unable to find the cause of the stroke.
Strokes usually cause permanent damage to the brain. An individual should receive emergency treatment immediately at a medical facility. Anyone can have a stroke but certain groups have higher risk factors. Risk factors include smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and others. Having a stroke is a leading cause of death as people become older. In addition, permanent brain damage from ischemia is a common occurrence. Individuals experiencing a stroke may have muscle weakness. Muscle weakness or paralysis typically occurs on one side of the body. Facial muscles may sag, or limbs cannot be moved after an ischemia. Many patients have garbled speech, or are unable to comprehend what is being said to them. Emergency medical treatment can reduce brain damage. Medications are given to patients to break apart blood clots in the vessels. Thrombolysis drugs are a vital treatment to prevent additional brain damage.
Each patient has a different physical, emotional and mental outcome following ischemia. A complete medical evaluation may determine underlying causes for the stroke. Physicians will prescribe medications and diet changes for some patients. Most victims of stroke have some neurological damage preventing a complete recovery. They may be unable to work, attend school, or live alone. The brain damage from stroke can affect large, and small motor functions. Individuals may need to learn new ways of dressing, eating and walking. The emotional areas of the brain can also be damaged causing an individual to behave inappropriately. Stroke victims may also have difficulties talking, remembering, sleeping or seeing.