Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.
As a Neurologist, it is very important to me that my patients understand what it is, and what they can do to prevent this potentially disastrous event from happening. A stroke is a “brain attack”, also known as a cerebrovascular accident that happens when a portion of the brain is blocked from receiving blood & oxygen. This can happen due to a clogged artery or a bleed in the brain.
Stroke is never to be taken lightly as this event can cause severe neurological damage and leave long-term or even permanent deficits.
Did you know that there are 3 different types of strokes?
1) Ischemic Stroke: This is a type of stroke that occurs when a part of the brain cannot receive blood & oxygen due to a blocked artery. The artery can be blocked from a narrowed blood vessel or from a very tiny blood clot from the heart or the carotid/vertebral artery system.
2) Hemorrhagic Stroke: This is caused by a blood leak or arterial rupture in the brain; high blood pressure, a ruptured aneurysm, or an abnormal blood vessel ( vascular malformation) can lead to this.
3) Transient Ischemic Attack (“TIA”): Often referred to as a “mini stroke” these are caused by small blood clots and run a high risk of being followed by either additional TIAs or a complete stroke.
What can cause a stroke?
Although a stroke can happen to anyone, the chances of stroke increase as the health of the individual declines.
Some of the most common and preventable conditions that can lead to stroke are:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Chronic Smoking
- Chronic Stress
In the event of a stroke, BE FAST
I always say, when it comes to stroke, every minute counts. Calling 911 at the first signs of impairment can make a drastic impact on survival and/or future recovery.
Pay attention to these warning signs:
- Balance (sudden headache, dizziness)
- Eyesight (visual impairment)
- Face (drooping)
- Arms (weakness and/or paralysis)
- Speech (confusion or problems with word production)
- Time (call 911 immediately)
Light at the end of the tunnel
If you or a loved one have suffered from a stroke, it is important to remember that a proper long-term treatment plan is fundamental to recovery. This is a plan that can take weeks to years varying on each unique situation. Finding healthcare professionals that you trust to help guide you through this journey is the best way to start.
Some of the most common treatment plans that are implemented are:
- Medication such as anticoagulants (blood thinners), and anti-platelet medicines (such as aspirin).
- Heart Healthy Lifestyle Changes such as a well-rounded diet, managing stress levels, appropriate physical activity and the elimination of smoking
- Rehabilitation including speech/memory/ language therapy and physical therapy; balance retraining and brain stimulation may be helpful as well.
- Support System such as a patient support group that can help you adjust with any major life changes that may have impacted your mental health and wellbeing. These groups can be essential in providing additional tips for current and future treatment.
In my practice, we take each patient as our priority. Share this with a friend.
“To Cure Sometimes, To Heal Often, To Comfort Always”
If you have any questions related to Stroke or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the Neurology Office for more help.
Neurology Office, Joseph Kandel M.D. and Associates