A stroke, also called a brain attack, occurs when blood flow and oxygen can't get to the brain.
Patients can experience anything from weakness in an arm or leg to paralyzation or speech loss. The sooner patients are treated for strokes, the better the outcome.
Patients of any age, race, or sex can suffer from strokes.
Symptoms in others
If you fear someone you're with is having a stroke, symptoms are easy to remember with the FAST system:
Face: Is part of the face drooping?
Arms: Raise both arms. Is one lower than the other?
Speech: Does the person have slurred speech?
Time: If you see or experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1.
Symptoms for you
There are a number of signs to look for if you think you may be having a stroke. In addition to the FAST system, here are other symptoms to look out for:
- One side of the body becomes weak or numb.
- Sudden loss of sight, coordination, speech, or speech understanding.
- Dizziness and falling that's unexplained.
- Losing consciousness for brief periods of time.
Stroke risk factors
Although anyone can have a stroke, there are risk factors that can increase your chance of having a stroke.
- Family history
- Race (African-Americans are at greater risk of death from stroke than Caucasians.)
- Sex (Women are at a higher risk for stroke and death from stroke.)
- Prior stroke
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Sickle cell disease
- High blood cholesterol
- Poor diet
There are two types of stroke: ischemic (caused by blocked arteries) and hemorrhagic (caused by a broken blood vessel leaking blood into the brain). The types of treatment available depends on whether it's an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic strokes can be treated with tPA, which dissolves the clot. The faster tPA is administered, the better the outcome. Another treatment for ischemic strokes is an endovascular procedure using a catheter to remove the clot from the brain.
We can also use an endovascular procedure to treat a hemorrhagic stroke or a surgical procedure using a metal clip to stop the bleeding.
Ballooning and stenting is often used to treat blockages in arteries that cause strokes.
Schedule an appointment
If you think you may be at risk for stroke and would like to talk to a doctor, please call (618) 222-1020 today.