Stroke is damage to certain group of brain cells, caused by interruption of blood supply to the brain.
When the blood supply to the brain stops, the affected area can no longer function properly. Therefore urgent doctor’s intervention is necessary. It can occur either as a consequence of a clogged blood vessel or hemorrhaging from one or more arteries that supply the brain with blood.
Stroke usually happens without warning. It is of utmost importance to hospitalize the patient as soon as possible, in order to start the treatment sooner. Additional stroke effects depend on the location and surface of the damaged tissue. Symptoms may also vary: from mild and temporary to permanent disability, including fatal outcome.
When symptoms withdraw in 24 hours, the conditions is called transitory ischemia attack, which is a warning sign of a possible stroke.
Stroke is more incidental in people over 70 years of age and more common in men. Stroke is still one of the leading causes of death in the world.
The symptoms of stroke are usually sudden, occurring in a few seconds or minutes. The symptoms vary depending on the affected part of the brain. These include:
- facial weakness; the person can not smile and there is difficulty in speech
- weakness or numbness of hands and the patient can not raise their hands and can not keep them raised
- weakness or numbness of one side of the body
- disorder of the vision, loss of a part of the visual field or even loss of sight on one eye
- difficulty swallowing
In cases of severe stroke, there may be damage to the brain region controlling the breathing and blood pressure, when the patient can collapse and even be in a coma. Under these circumstance, fatal outcome is possible.
The cause of stroke in 80% of the cases is clogged blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. This is also known as ischemia stroke. This type of stroke is a consequence of cerebral embolism. In cerebral thrombosis, the blood clot is formed in the brain artery, while in cerebral embolism, a part of the blood clot, formed in another part of the body, for e.g. in the heart or neck arteries, comes to the artery that supply blood to the brain through the bloodstream and it stops there.
Another cause is cerebral hemorrhaging (bleeding from a brain artery), known as hemorrhagic stroke. Cerebral hemorrhaging occurs when a blood-supplying brain artery ruptures, and blood leaks in the nearby tissue.
The risk factors include:
- existing atherosclerosis
- eating food rich in fats
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- heart diseases – because blood clot can be formed in all heart diseases
- abnormal increase of red blood cells
- autoimmune diseases