Stroke is one of the top killers in the world today. It happens when the blood supply to the brain is reduced or blocked, thus depriving the brain of much-needed oxygen and nutrients. Once the blood supply to the brain tissue is cut off, the brain cells may die and there may be damage to the brain. This is why stroke is treated as a medical emergency; death can ensue within minutes. If the patient is lucky enough to live, there may be potential complications. However, stroke is easily preventable through certain lifestyle changes and controlling other comorbidities such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.
There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke happens when there is blockage to an artery supplying the brain tissues. Hemorrhagic stroke, on the other hand, happens when there is leakage due to the rupture of a blood vessel. Aside from these two, some people may also experience a temporary disturbance in the blood flow to the brain, a condition known as transient ischemic attack or TIA.
Ischemic stroke usually happens when there is narrowing or blockage to the arteries of the brain due to disease or blood clots. The most common types of ischemic stroke are thrombotic stroke and embolic stroke. A thrombotic stroke happens when one artery of the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot or thrombus. Clots may form when there are fatty deposits or plaques in the inner lining of the arteries that can cause reduced blood flow. An embolic stroke happens when a blood clot or debris float away from one part of the body to the brain to deposit into the arteries of the brain. This blood clot or debris is called embolus.
A hemorrhagic stroke, on the other hand, occurs when there is leakage and rupture of an artery of the brain. This results to hemorrhage, and may be caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure or aneurysms (also known as weak spots in the blood vessels). It may also be due to a congenital illness known as arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Hemorrhagic stroke may either me intracerebral hemorrhage or subarachnoid hemorrhage. An intracerebral hemorrhage results when the blood vessel ruptures and spills blood all over brain tissues, bringing forth brain damage. On the other hand, subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs when there is rupture and spillage of blood into the space in between your brain and your skull.
Transient ischemic attacks are also called mini strokes and occurs with a brief episode of several symptoms which are similar to when you have a stroke. However these symptoms only last for about less than five minutes. The symptoms occur because the blockage is only temporary.
Signs and symptoms of stroke include difficulty in walking, difficulty of speaking, incoherence, paralysis, numbness of the face or limbs, vision problems and headaches. If you have symptoms of stroke, it is necessary that you seek medical help at once so that complications are prevented. Prognosis depends on the location of the stroke and the type of stroke. However, due to modern medicine nowadays, many people survive stroke for more than ten years.
Stroke in Women VS Men
A recent study has commented, however, that women may have a worse quality of life than men after stroke. This study done by researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center compared quality of life between men and women who had either strokes or TIAs. Quality of life in the form of everyday activities, self-care, depression, anxiety and pain were observed after three months and one year. The results showed that women had poor quality of life after stroke than men. This is an eye opener to health practitioners so that they can focus on quality of care for women stroke survivors.
If you want to learn more about stroke and its consequences, feel free to read our other articles on this site.