A sudden decrease in the blood supply to part of the brain. This causes damage to the brain so it cannot function normally. Adults over 55 are most often affected.
FREQUENT SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The symptoms may vary in different people:
Unable to speak.
Unable to move part of the body.
Loss of consciousness.
Sudden heavy feeling in an arm or leg, or feeling numb and unable to control muscles.
Loss of bowel and bladder control.
Blood flow to the brain is blocked. It may be from a blood clot that forms in the brain itself due to narrowed arteries. It may be from a blood clot that forms elsewhere in the bloodstream and travels to the brain.
Hemorrhage (bleeding) due to ruptured blood vessel. The bleeding may occur in the brain or in the space between the brain and the skull.
RISK INCREASES WITH
Age over 55. Males have more strokes than females.
Excess alcohol use and certain types of drug abuse.
Eat a healthy diet.
Get treatment for diabetes, heart disease, or other chronic disorders.
Have your blood pressure checked regularly. If it is high, see your health care provider.
Get medical advice about taking aspirin daily.
Stroke causes death, permanent damage, or disability in two-thirds of all cases. The long-term outlook depends on the extent of brain damage. In some cases, complete recovery without long-term disability is possible.
Serious physical and mental health problems. Major lifestyle changes that affect work, family, and social life.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Call 911 if you think you might be having a stroke or have someone take you to an emergency center. The first few hours are critical for effective treatment.
Emergency care will include a physical exam and medical tests to check heart, brain, and other body functions. Treatment may include drugs, oxygen to help with breathing, and, sometimes, surgery. You will stay in the hospital until symptoms improve. Long-term care may be needed for some patients.
Early rehabilitation after a stroke will help improve physical abilities. Outcome will depend on the extent of the brain injury. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy may be needed. Patient attitude and family support are important in the success.
Drugs to break up clots, control brain swelling, and prevent complications may be given in the hospital.
Drugs for high blood pressure, clot prevention, and other preventive drugs may be prescribed.
If you have lost muscle control, therapy will help you learn to use affected limbs. You can often regain basic skills, such as eating, dressing, and toilet functions.
At first, you may require feeding tube, then progress to a pureed, soft, or regular diet. Then eat a healthy diet.
NOTIFY OUR OFFICE IF
You or a family member has symptoms of a stroke or observe them in someone else. This is an emergency!