Stroke Symptoms can Lead to Permanent Neurological Damage

A Stroke is a medical emergency that was once known medically as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). This medical emergency can cause permanent neurological damage, complications, and in some cases - death. A cerebrovascular accident or brain attack, is described as the rapid loss of brain functions due to a lack of oxygen and blood supply to the brain.

This is a serious health issue that occurs when blood vessels in the brain become blocked or ruptured.

Whenever this happens, the flow of blood that carries oxygen to the brain is interrupted.

Because the brain is no longer receiving any blood and oxygen flow, the cells of the brain begin to die immediately.

This happens within less than 1 to 5 minutes of the attack.

Damage to any part of the brain will automatically affect the area of your body that it controls. This means that this area of your body will stop working properly or not at all.

Types of strokes

In the medical field, this health condition is classified into two major categories known as ischemic and hemorrhagic . In an ischemic stroke or cerebrovascular accident, the blood supply to part of the brain is reduced. This problem causes a malfunction of the brain cells in that particular area.

There are four main reasons that an individual may experience an ischemic condition. They are

  • Thrombosis. This is a blockage of a blood vessel due to a blood clot that has formed.
  • Embolism. This condition is due an to embolus caused elsewhere in the body.
  • Systemic hypoperfusion. This problem is generally a decrease in blood supply.
  • Venous thrombosis.

Statistics reveal that without an obvious explanation, cerebrovascular accidents are termed cryptogenic. In other words, they are of unknown origin. This fact contributes to 30 - 40% of all ischemic brain attacks. 8 out of every 10 cerebrovascular accident are ischemic. Ischemic attacks are the most common type that occur in older individuals.

A Hemorrhagic Stroke condition. Hemorrhagic attacks, develop when an artery in the brain of an individual, leaks or ruptures. The result of this stroke symptom, is bleeding inside the brain or close to the surface of the brain. Hemorrhagic symptoms are usually less common in people; however, they are more lethal than ischemic attacks.

Symptoms of stroke

Symptoms usually begin rather quickly and without any type of warning signs to the victim. The symptoms that show usually depend on the area of the brain that is affected. Because permanent brain damage can begin within minutes, it is extremely important that you learn to recognize the signs and symptoms that are associated with an ischemic or hemorrhagic attack.

By recognizing these symptoms right away, you can act fast and seek medical treatment immediately. This will allow you to minimize the damage to your brain cells. Hence increasing your chances for full recovery.

Symptoms of stroke, which are brought on suddenly are normally recognized by weakness, numbness, or paralysis.

Areas of the body that are affected are:

  • The Face.
  • The arm.
  • The leg.
  • Vision in one or both eyes. This problem usually causes double vision or objects may look dim or blurry.
  • Your ability to understand (confusion).
  • Your ability to speak. This means that you may have slurred or garbled speech.
  • Your ability to walk. You may at one point feel unbalanced, dizzy, or a little clumsy.
  • Severe headaches- usually caused by bleeding in the brain. Headaches can begin suddenly and may become more severe.

Seek medical attention or treatment immediately, if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above (call 911).

Diagnosing Symptoms of a Stroke 

Most forms of cerebrovascular accidents are associated with headaches. This is apart from subarachnoid hemorrhage and cerebral venous thrombosis and the occasional intracerebral hemorrhage. For this reason, immediate treatment for any types of ischemic or hemorrhagic attacks are extremely important. Treatment of a stroke will limit you to permanent brain damage, complications, and death.

Hence if an individual can get medical treatment immediately - usually within three (3) hours of when their symptoms began, doctors may be able to use medications that can increase their chances for recovery.

Before an individual can receive any treatment for symptoms of an attack, their doctor has to know exactly what type of stroke they have experienced. Either ischemic or hemorrhagic. This is extremely important because the wrong diagnosis can be very deadly.

First off, the medications that are used to treat ischemic attacks (blood clot), could be deadly; especially if they are used to treat hemorrhagic attacks. To determine the type, location, and cause of the stroke and rule out any other disorders that may be responsible for the symptoms - a doctor will use certain tests. These test include:

  • A special X-ray procedure called a CT-Scan. This test is often done soon after symptoms of an attack begun. In some cases an MRI scan may be done instead or afterwards.
  • Magnetic resonance angiogarphy (MRA) or CT angiography may also be done to check for abnormal blood vessels in the brain that may have contributed to the victim suffering the condition in the first place.
  • Echocardiogram - this may be done if the stroke that the victim had was caused by a blood clot from the heart.
  • Carotid duplex - this is a type of ultrasound exam which can reveal if the arteries in the neck are narrowing. This is called carotid stenosis which can also lead to the victim suffering symptoms of an attack.
  • An angiogram of the victim's head to reveal which blood vessel is blocked or bleeding. This test procedure will help the doctor decide if the artery can be un-blocked or reopened.
  • The doctor may have the victim do a bunch of lab tests as well. These test will include a complete blood count (CBC), bleed time, and blood clotting tests. The blood cholesterol and blood sugar of the victim are also checked.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) and heart rhythm monitoring can also help in determining if an irregular heartbeat such as atrial fibrillation, caused problem initially.

Treatment of the different types of symptoms of stroke

Ischemic attacks as mentioned earlier, are caused by thrombosis (blood clot), This condition blocks blood flow in the artery supplying the brain. Initial treatment therapy is aimed at removing the blockage by breaking down the clot (thrombolysis) or by removing it mechanically (thrombectomy).

The quicker the flow of blood and oxygen is restored to the brain, the lesser the damage will be to brain cells. In other words, less brain cells die. As you will noticed, treatment of an ischemic condition, focuses mainly on restoring blood flow to the brain of the individual as quickly as possible.

As long as an individual receive treatment within less than 3 hours after their symptoms began, their doctor can prescribe medications that will dissolve the blood clots. According to medical research, if a victim is given the required medications within 90 minutes of their first symptoms, recovery is greatly increased.

The doctor may also prescribe some other medications to prevent any further blood clots and control the symptoms.

Jillian Michaels

Now treatment of a hemorrhagic stroke can be a little more difficult.

With cerebral hemorrhage conditions, individuals may require surgery or some other form of treatment to stop the bleeding or reduce the pressure on their brain.

Medications for this condition may also be used to control the blood pressure, swelling of the brain, and any other health related symptoms.

Treatment of hemorrhagic conditions will usually shift once the victim is stable. This shift is one of prevention that will eliminate any further problems. You have to be aware that, you may be required to take other treatment medications that will:

There are times when an individual may require surgery to remove any plaque build up from their blood vessels. These blood vessels are usually the ones that supply blood and oxygen to your brain (carotid arteries). The best way for an individual to fully go through a stroke recovery, is for them to enroll in a rehab program immediately.

This rehab program is one that is design specifically for victims that have experience ischemic and hemorrhagic attacks. The main goal of these rehab clinics, are to help victims regain the motor skills lost or learn to make the most of their remaining abilities. With the help of these rehab clinics, an individual can learn to take steps that will prevent future attacks from occurring.

Regaining your abilities after a stroke is at its greatest, during the first few months after the attack. Hence it is vitally important that you start your rehab as soon as possible and do as much as you can each day.

Prevention of warning signs and symptoms of stroke

Because of the disease burden of having n ischemic or an hemorrhagic attack, prevention is an important concern of the entire public at large. Still the primary prevention of this health issue is less effective than the secondary prevention. Recent guidelines have detailed the evidence for primary prevention in both ischemic and hemorrhagic attacks.

Because these conditions may indicate underlying atherosclerosis, it is extremely important to determine the victim's risk for other cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease.

Risk factors that contribute to stroke symptoms

The most important modifiable risk factor for ischemic and hemorrhagic attacks, are high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation. Whenever an individual experience an attack, chances of them having another one is very high. However with some very important lifestyle changes, they can reduce their risks and at the same time improve their overall health condition.

This includes limiting diabetes symptoms; thus managing the disease. Lifestyle changes that individuals can control include:

  • Smoking. This health hazard can double your risks for getting an attack. Second hand smoke is just as bad. So avoid them all.
  • Eat a heart health diet. Your diet should consist of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, high fiber grains and breads, and olive oil. It should contain less salt as well.
  • Engage in a regularly scheduled exercise and fitness program. Make sure that you check with your doctor before you start any exercise programs.
  • Maintain a healthy weight at all times.
  • Control your cholesterol level and blood pressure.
  • Control your blood glucose or blood sugar level; especially if you have diabetes or show signs of diabetes. Try to keep it as close to normal as possible.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol.
  • Get a flu shot once a year so that you don't get sick form the flu.
  • If your doctor prescribe medications like aspirin, take them.

Other stroke prevention methods

In addition to the list mentioned above, there are other preventive methods that you can do! They include:

  • Working closely with your doctor/s to prevent future strokes.
  • keep all your scheduled doctor appointments.
  • Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
Bottom line, any symptoms that you have, may go away quickly but you should contact your doctor immediately. You may be experiencing a TIA (Transient ischemic stroke attack). These types of attacks are usually referred to as mini strokes.

These are usually signs and symptoms that you are about have a major attack. Therefore you should seek medical help or treatment immediately and avoid suffering symptoms of stroke.

A stroke is a diabetic health problem!

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