The brain requires a constant flow of blood in order to keep the brain cells functioning properly.
Blood provides the oxygen and nutrients needed. Unfortunately, there are moments when the brain is deprived of proper flows of blood. These are known as strokes.
A person suffering a stroke is undoubtedly dealing with a medical emergency. Treatment needs to occur as soon as possible to ensure there’s less risk of fatal consequences. The good news is that treatment for strokes has been improved repeatedly. Less people die from strokes than in the past and less suffer from permanent disability. The key to a good response for a stroke victim is still recognizing that one is occurring early. From there, emergency help can be sought.
Symptoms and Identifying a Stroke
There are many symptoms that a person may feel if they are suffering a stroke. Sometimes they may realize it’s happening, other times not so much. One of the most common symptoms is a paralysis or numbness felt on one side of the body. It’s common to feel it in the face, arms and legs. Speech can often be problematic and the sufferer may be unable to speak properly or understand speech directed at them. Headaches can be common. This is a severe kind of headache which appears rapidly. Sometimes this can cause dizziness, vomiting or a feeling of altered consciousness. Vision problems can appear in the form of blurred vision or blackened vision. Unlike some symptoms, this can appear on both sides of the body or in one eye.
Seeing the symptoms in others is important. If you’re worried that someone may be suffering from a stroke, first ask them to smile. Watch their face and check for droopage on one side. Secondly, request that they raise their arms. If one arm is unable to be raised properly, that’s another sign. Ask them to speak about something simple. Check for slurred words or if it sounds strange. Essentially, if any of these signs show themselves, calling 911 is the next step and crucial.
Causes and Risk Factors of Suffering a Stroke
People with a stroke typically have them for one of two reasons. The first is known as an ischemic stroke. This is when a blood vessel in the brain gets blocked and the blood flow is stopped or reduced heavily. These are common when blood clots or broken plaques from artery walls get stuck in the brain area. Hemorrhagic strokes occur if a blood vessel in the brain is leaking or ruptures.
There are several risk factors that put people at severe risk of strokes. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a real danger. Aneurysms can cause a hemorrhagic stroke because they weaken blood vessel walls. Diabetics or people who suffer from sleep apnea are at a high risk. The same can be said for people who have high levels of cholesterol or who smoke. One major cause and risk is people who have heart problems. Heart failure, infections, atrial fibrillation or heart defects all put a person at risk of a stroke. Strokes and heart disease are very closely linked.
Complications of Strokes
One of the issues with strokes is the number of complications that can occur due to them. If a stroke lasts for too long, or if the loss of blood flow is severe, then complications are likely. These can be temporary or permanent complications. Some of them include:
- Memory Problems - Memory loss can occur and some people struggle with their normal level of thinking.
- Mouth Issues - Sometimes strokes will damage the muscles in the area of the mouth and throat. This can make speech very difficult and can affect the ability to swallow food.
- Paralysis and Movement Issues - Strokes can cause the loss of use of muscles on one side of the body. This is also a major symptom of a stroke and tends to affect the face and arm most.
- Pain - The body can send impulses of pain or numbness to the brain from stroke affected areas.
- Emotional Issues - Mental health is a concern after a stroke. Many people who suffer from them can end up suffering from depression or struggle with their emotional balance. Many people can become withdrawn from their friends and relatives and might require assistance with their daily life.