Time is of the essence when someone is having a stroke.
- In one second 32,000 brain cells die.
- In the next 59 seconds an ischemic stroke can kill 1.9 million brain cells.
- If you think someone is having a stroke, you must get them to a hospital fast so a physician can diagnose and treat them.
What causes strokes?
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or gets clogged. Clots that block an artery cause ischemic strokes. This is the most common type of stroke and accounts for 85% of all strokes. Millions of brain cells die each minute a stroke is untreated.
Ruptured blood vessels cause hemorrhagic or bleeding strokes. The affected part of the brain doesn't get the blood it needs and in minutes begins to die. Each stroke has different effects. If you have a stroke you could suffer paralysis, have trouble talking and/or understanding speech, your vision could be affected, you could lose emotional control, become depressed or even die. It's important to get treatment as quickly as possible in order to minimize long term effects of a stroke.
What kind of effect does a stroke have?
The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions. If a stroke occurs and blood flow can't reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won't work as it should. If the stroke occurs in the part of the brain that controls muscle movements (back of brain), for instance, it's likely that some weakness or paralysis will result. The effects of a stroke depend primarily on the location of the obstruction and the extent of brain tissue affected.
The effects of a stroke depend on several factors including the location of the obstruction and how much brain tissue is affected. However, because one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body, a stroke affecting one side will result in neurological complications on the side of the body it affects. For example, if the stroke occurs in the brain's right side, the left side of the body (and the right side of the face) will be affected, which could produce any or all of the following:
- Paralysis on the left side of the body
- Vision problems
- Quick, inquisitive behavioral style
- Memory loss
If the stroke occurs in the left side of the brain, the right side of the body (and the left side of the face) will be affected, producing some or all of the following:
- Paralysis on the right side of the body
- Speech/language problems
- Slow, cautious behavioral style
- Memory loss
Back of Brain
If the stroke occurs in the back of the brain, some or all of the following symptoms may occur:
- Difficulty with balance
- Difficulty with coordination
Front of Brain
If the stroke occurs in the front of the brain, some or all of the following symptoms may occur:
- Impaired attention span
- Decreased motivation
- Impaired judgment
- Difficulty with organizational tasks
Can strokes be stopped?
Many clinical trials have led to advances in preventing and treating strokes. As a result, stroke no longer automatically results in disability or death. A clot-dissolving drug commonly referred to as t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator) can reduce long term disability if it is given within three (3) hours, and in some cases up to four and a half (4.5) hours, after an ischemic stroke starts. However, t-PA is not used as often as it could be because many people don't seek medical treatment as quickly as they should. Additional stroke treatments are now available, including clot removal. In order to receive t-PA or other stroke treatment, you must get to a hospital fast so a physician can quickly diagnose a stroke.