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Understanding causes of stroke

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PHOTO: Healthline


A stroke occurs when part of the brain loses its blood supply and stops working. This causes the part of the body that the injured brain controls to stop working.

A stroke also is called a cerebrovascular accident, CVA, or “brain attack.”The types of strokes include: Ischemic stroke (part of the brain loses blood flow); Haemorrhagic stroke (bleeding occurs within the brain); and Transient ischemic attack, TIA, or mini stroke (The stroke symptoms resolve within minutes, but may take up to 24 hours on their own without treatment. This is a warning sign that a stroke may occur in the near future.)

A stroke is a medical emergency. The affected individual, family, friends, or bystanders need to call 9-1-1 (activate EMS) to access emergency care.From onset of symptoms, there is only a 3 to 4 1/2 hour window to use clot-busting drugs (thrombolytics) to try to restore blood supply to the affected part of the brain.

Remember FAST if you think someone might be having a stroke: Face drooping; Arm weakness; Speech difficulty; and Time to call 9-1-1.Causes of strokes include ischemia (loss of blood supply) or hemorrhage (bleeding) in the brain occurs.

People at risk for stroke include those who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and those who smoke. People with heart rhythm disturbances, especially atrial fibrillation are also at risk.

Stroke is diagnosed by the patient’s symptoms, history, and blood and imaging tests.Depending on the situation, including the patient’s neurologic examination and severity of stroke, mechanical thrombectomy to remove a blood clot within a brain artery may occur up to 24 hours after onset of symptoms. This procedure is not available at all hospitals and not appropriate for all stroke patients.

You can prevent stroke by quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising on a regular basis.The prognosis and recovery for a person that has suffered a stroke depends upon the location of the injury to the brain.
*Dr. Anthony Nwaoney is an epidemiologist


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