Stroke

A Stroke occurs when an artery to the brain becomes blocked or ruptures. This deprives the brain cells of oxygen and glucose. The amount of damage depends on how long the cerebral infraction lasts. There can be extensive loss of brain function or death. 80% of Strokes are Ischemic, meaning they are caused by the blockage of an artery. Signs an Ischemic Stroke is happening are difficulty speaking, abnormal or lost sensation, confusion, dizziness, vision problems, loss of balance & coordination and sudden muscle weakness. Hemorrhagic Strokes are caused by the rupture of an artery. Those symptoms may be more in in the range of severe headache, nausea & vomiting and very high blood pressure.
Strokes are a leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Europe. A stroke is a medical emergency and can cause permanent neurological damage and further complications.  Strokes are more common in people over 65 but universal risk factors include hypertension , previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), diabetes, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking and atrial fibrillation. High blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor of stroke.

A silent stroke does not have any outward symptoms, and the patient is typically unaware they have suffered a stroke. Despite not causing identifiable symptoms, a silent stroke still causes damage to the brain, and places the patient at increased risk for both transient ischemic attack and major stroke in the future. Those who have suffered a major stroke are at risk of having silent strokes. Silent strokes typically cause lesions which are detected via the use of neuroimaging such as MRI. Silent stroke are estimated to occur at five times the rate of symptomatic stroke. The risk of silent stroke increases with age but may also affect younger adults and children, especially those with acute anemia.

Treatment to recover any lost function is termed stroke rehabilitation, ideally in a stroke unit and involving health professions such as speech and language therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Prevention of recurrence may involve antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin as well as drugs to control and reduce hypertension. Selected patients may benefit from anticoagulants

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