A stroke occurs when cerebral blood vessels become blocked by clots or burst, which results in bleeding into the brain. Either scenario causes brain cells to die.
Strokes from blocked vessels are known as ischemic strokes; when a vessel ruptures, it is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic strokes account for approximately 83 percent of all stroke cases. In addition, people can develop transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), sometimes called “mini” strokes. TIA symptoms may disappear within a short period of time, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly. TIAs are potential warning signs that a major stroke is about to occur.
Because one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body, a stroke on the right side of the brain affects the left side of the body. The opposite occurs if the stroke takes place on the left side of the brain.
A stroke can cause difficulty with ambulation, vision, speech and language; paralysis; behavioral changes; and memory loss. However, each stroke is individual in the way it affects a person.
The good news is that many stroke victims do get better. The degree of a recovery depends on the extent of injury to the brain and rehabilitation. It has been estimated that more than 50 percent of strokes can be prevented. Now more than ever, physicians understand what causes stroke. Identifying risk factors and modifying lifestyle choices are the best defense.
St. Luke’s Hospital
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