A diagnosis of Stroke can be frightening. Here we’ve posted some of the most common questions and answers regarding Strokes, whether it’s regarding medications, treatments and lifestyle choices to stay healthy. Let us know if you have other questions and our South Florida team will do its best to get the answers for you.
We have found that the more one learns about the stroke, the better one understands the stroke. The better one understands the stroke, the better one can cope with the changes it brings. The better one is at coping, the better one’s well-being. And YES, there is life after stroke.
There is no sure way to know if you are going to have another stroke. However, it has been shown that once you’ve had one stroke you are at an increased risk to have another one. The best way to decrease your chances of having more strokes is to manage your risk factors and consult with your doctor.
Yes. Stroke is preventable. A better understanding of the causes of stroke has helped people make lifestyle changes that have cut the stroke death rate nearly in half in the last two decades. While family history of stroke plays a role in your risk, there are many risk factors you can control:
If you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to get it under control. Managing your high blood pressure is the most important thing you can do to avoid stroke.
If you smoke, quit.
If you have diabetes, learn how to manage it. Many people do not realize they have diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
If you are overweight, start maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
If you have high cholesterol, work with your doctor to lower it. A high level of total cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for heart disease, which raises your risk of stroke.
A family history of stroke can raise your risk. If your parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke especially before reaching age 65, you may be at greater risk.
There are a number of risk factors that cannot be changed or prevented; these factors are called non-modifiable. These non-modifiable risk factors include age, family history, race, gender, and prior history of stroke or transient ischemic attack. The risk factors that can be changed, treated or controlled are called modifiable risk factors. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor/unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, obesity, cigarette smoking, diabetes, artery disease, atrial fibrillation, peripheral artery disease and other heart diseases. Knowing your risk factors will help you plan ways to control and decrease your modifiable risk factors.
A hemorrhagic stroke results when a weakened blood vessel in your brain ruptures or breaks, spilling blood into the surrounding tissues. The blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue. There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes: The first is an aneurysm, which causes a portion of the weakened blood vessel to balloon outward and sometimes rupture. If left untreated, the aneurysm continues to weaken until it ruptures and bleeds into the brain. The other is an arteriovenous malformation, which involves abnormally formed blood vessels. If such a blood vessel ruptures, it can cause a hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic strokes occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. The underlying condition for this type of obstruction is the development of fatty deposits lining the vessel walls. This condition is called atherosclerosis. These fatty deposits can cause two types of obstruction:
Cerebral thrombosis refers to a thrombus (blood clot) that develops at the clogged part of the vessel.
Cerebral embolism refers generally to a blood clot that forms at another location in the circulatory system, usually the heart and large arteries of the upper chest and neck. A portion of the blood clot breaks loose, enters the bloodstream and travels through the brain’s blood vessels until it reaches vessels too small to let it pass. A second important cause of embolism is an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation. It creates conditions where clots can form in the heart, dislodge and travel to the brain.
Silent cerebral infarction, or “silent stroke,” is a brain injury likely caused by a blood clot interrupting blood flow in the brain. It’s a risk factor for future strokes which could lead to progressive brain damage due to these strokes.
There are three main types of stroke: transient ischemic attack, ischemic, and hemorrhagic. It’s estimated that 87 percent of strokes are ischemic.
When you have a stroke, your brain isn’t getting the blood it needs. You need treatment right away to lower your chances of brain damage, disability, or even death. Use the FAST test to check for the most common symptoms of a stroke in yourself or someone else:
Face Drooping: Smile. Does one side of the face droop? Is the smile uneven or lopsided?
Arm Weakness: Raise both arms. Does one arm drop down? Is it numb or weak?
Speech Difficulties: Say a short phrase and check for slurred or strange speech.
Time to call 9-1-1: If the answer to any of these is yes, call 911 right away and write down the time when symptoms started.
Minutes matter in treating stroke. Calling a doctor or driving to the hospital yourself wastes time. Ambulance workers can judge your situation sooner, and that boosts your chance of getting the treatment you need as soon as possible.
Approximately, 795,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke, about 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks. According to the World Health Organization, 15 million people suffer stroke worldwide each year. Of these, 5 million die and another 5 million are permanently disabled.
Anyone can have a stroke. Many people think that strokes only happen to older people but stroke can strike anyone at any time. While most people who have a stroke are older, younger people can have strokes too, including children.
Another imaging technique used for stroke patients is the magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scan. MRI uses magnetic fields to detect a variety of changes in the brain and blood vessels caused by a stroke. Although increasingly used in the emergency diagnosis of stroke, MRI is not immediately available at all hours in most hospitals, where CT is used for acute stroke diagnosis. Also, MRI typically takes longer to perform than CT, and therefore may not be the first choice when minutes count.
The most commonly used imaging procedure is the computed tomography or CT scan, also known as a “CAT” scan. A CT scan is comprised of a series of cross-sectional images of the head and brain. Because it is readily available at all hours at most major hospitals, produces images quickly, CT is the most widely used diagnostic imaging technique for acute stroke.
A CT scan may show evidence of early ischemia – an area of tissue that is dead or dying due to a loss of blood supply. Ischemic strokes generally show up on a CT scan about six to eight hours after the start of stroke symptoms.
Doctors have several techniques and imaging tools to help diagnose stroke quickly and accurately. The first step in diagnosis is a short neurological examination, or an evaluation of the nervous system. When a possible stroke patient arrives at a hospital, a healthcare professional, usually a doctor or nurse, will ask the patient or a companion what happened and when the symptoms began. Blood tests, an electrocardiogram, and a brain scan such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will often be done.
Stroke damage in the brain can affect the entire body — resulting in mild to severe disabilities. These include paralysis, problems with thinking, problems with speaking, emotional problems, and pain.
Signs and symptoms of stroke are dependent on the area of the brain involved in the stroke. Strokes may affect a broad spectrum of life, including physical capacities, vision, communication abilities such as speaking, comprehending, reading and written language, calculation, information processing, social sensitivity, vocations and earning power. A stroke usually results in the following:
- Health concerns.
- Changes in relationships.
- Other social changes.
- Upset of one’s self-esteem.
- Change or loss of employment.
- Other psychological challenges affecting the well-being of the person surviving the stroke, as well as those close to the stroke survivor.
A stroke, recently termed “brain attack,” occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.
A transient ischemic attack also known as a warning or mini-stroke is a clot that temporarily blocks blood flow to your brain. The blood clot and transient ischemic attack symptoms last for a short period of time. They can be relatively benign in terms of immediate consequences. But the term “warning stroke” is more appropriate for these temporary episodes, because they can indicate the likelihood of a coming stroke. Transient ischemic attacks should be taken very seriously. If you suspect a transient ischemic attack or stroke of any kind, be sure to call 9-1-1. Know the warning signs.
Make an Appointment Now. Call 786-565-8735.
Make an Appointment Now.