Stroke Symptoms | Causes of
Stroke | Stroke
A stroke is a sudden onset of a neurologic deficit characterized by
the rapidly developing loss of brain function(s)
due to disturbance in the blood
supply to the brain, caused by a blocked or burst blood vessel.
This can be due to ischemia (lack
of glucose and oxygen supply) caused by thrombosis or embolism or
due to a hemorrhage.
As a result, the affected area of the brain is unable to function, leading
to inability to move
one or more limbs on one side of the body, inability
to understand or formulate speech, or inability to see one
side of the visual field.
If you have symptoms of a stroke, emergency medical
care. General symptoms
of a stroke include:
- Sudden numbness, paralysis, or weakness in your face,
arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
- New problems
with walking or balance.
- Sudden vision changes.
- Drooling or slurred speech.
- New problems speaking or understanding
simple statements, or feeling confused.
- A sudden, severe headache that
is different from past headaches.
Symptoms vary depending on whether
the stroke is caused by a clot or bleeding. The location of the blood
clot or bleeding and the extent of brain
damage can also affect symptoms.
of an ischemic
stroke (caused by a clot blocking a blood vessel) usually
occur in the side of the body opposite from the side of the brain where
the clot occurred. For example, a stroke in the right side of the brain
affects the left side of the body.
Symptoms of a hemorrhagic
by bleeding in the brain) can be similar to those of an ischemic stroke
but may be distinguished by symptoms relating to higher pressure in the
brain, including severe headache, nausea and vomiting, neck stiffness,
dizziness, seizures, irritability, confusion, and possibly unconsciousness.
Ischemic strokes are ultimately caused by a thrombus or embolus that
blocks blood flow to the brain. Blood clots (thrombus clots) usually
occur in areas of the arteries that have been damaged by atherosclerosis
from a buildup of plaques. Embolus type blood clots are often caused
fibrillation - an irregular pattern of heart beat that leads
to blood clot formation in the heart and then the clot breaks off and
travels to the brain.
Hemorrhage strokes are caused by a broken blood vessel and maybe due
to high blood pressure, a head injury, or aneurysms. High blood pressure
is the most common cause of cerebral hemorrhage, as it causes small arteries
inside the brain to burst. This deprives brain cells of blood and dangerously
increases pressure on the brain.
Aneurysms - abnormal blood-filled pouches that balloon out from weak
spots in the wall of an artery - are the most common cause of subarachnoid
hemorrhage. If an aneurysm ruptures, blood spills into the space between
the surfaces of the brain and skull, and blood vessels in the brain may
spasm. Aneurysms are often caused or made worse by high blood pressure.
If you have signs or symptoms of a stroke you should call 911
or be taken to the emergency room. The physicians there can evaluate
you to see if in fact you are having a stroke.
Surgery, medications, hospital
care and rehabilitation are all accepted stroke treatments.
Carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure often performed when the carotid artery in the
neck is partially blocked by a fatty buildup called plaque. This procedure
can remove the accumulated plaque.
Cerebral angioplasty is another technique
in which balloons, stents and coils are used to treat some types of problems
with the brain's blood vessels. Its widespread use depends on its safety