Facts About Stroke: Everything You Need to Know

01 Aug 2020

Strokes are one of the most frightening diseases there are because it almost creeps on people. To think that a seemingly healthy person can suddenly die or lose their ability to speak or move is quite scary.

Strokes affect millions of people across the nation, and we treat hundreds of people who come to our emergency room in Houston to seek stroke emergency care. In America alone, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the 3rd highest cause of death in women.

The worrying part is that many Americans do not take strokes seriously enough and aren’t keen on the symptoms that might show abruptly. If detected early, seeking emergency treatment for stroke can save a life.

Even though strokes can be deadly, you do not need to be in the dark and afraid. If you understand the root causes, then you might help prevent a stroke in the future. Despite the worrying statistics, stroke treatment in Houston has drastically improved and can help prevent disability brought by stroke.

About Stroke

The brain was not designed to survive without oxygen, even for a few minutes. When there is an interruption of blood flow to the brain, the brain cells die and affect different parts of the body. This is what happens when you have a stroke.

You will still experience the after-effects well after the event has passed. Strokes are potentially life-threatening, and even though you might not die, your life might change forever. This is why rushing to Memorial Village ER to seek stroke treatment in Houston can reduce the damage caused by a stroke.

In layman’s terms, when there is an interruption or reduced blood supply to your brain, thus preventing your brain tissue and brain cells from receiving nutrients and oxygen, then you’ve had a stroke.

A stroke can also happen if there is bleeding in your brain.

As a general rule of thumb, strokes are medical emergencies, and you shouldn’t wait but rush to our emergency room in Houston.

Are There Any Early Warning Signs Before a Stroke?

Knowing the early warning signs can be the difference between life and death. These signs might be exhibited moments or even days before you get a stroke.

A universally known acronym can help you know the early signs of a stroke – F.A.S.T. This stands for:

  • Face drooping. One side of your face becomes numb or droops. If you try to smile, you will notice that your smile is uneven.
  • Arm weakness. One of your arms will feel numb or weak. If you are to raise your hands, you will realize that your hands are drifting downwards.
  • Speech difficulty. Your speech will sound slurred, or your words will not be understood. Repeating a simple statement may be an uphill task, or you might repeat it incorrectly.
  • Time to call your emergency number. If someone exhibits the above symptoms, it is time to get emergency help.

Other symptoms to look out for are:

  • Sudden vision difficulty in either one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sudden severe headache 

Types of Stroke

There are three main types of strokes:

Ischemic Stroke

Almost 88% of the stroke cases fall under this type of stroke. These strokes happen because there is a blockage in the artery that supplies your brain with blood.

The blockage can happen due to fatty deposits that break off from the arterial walls and interrupt blood supply to the brain. The other way that blockage can occur is through blood clots that can travel in your bloodstream and then get lodged in the arteries in your brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke happens when there is a rupture or a leak in your blood vessels that feed the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke is divided into two types:

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage. This is characterized by bleeding in the area between the thin tissues that cover the brain and the brain.
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage. This the most prevalent stroke that happens when the blood vessels rupture and flood the brain tissue with blood.

The different factors that relate to hemorrhagic stroke can be:

  • Overtreatment with anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Trauma
  • Aneurysms or bulges at weak spots in your arteries or veins
  • Protein deposits on your blood vessels that weakens the vessel walls
  • Ischemic stroke that causes a bleeding

Hemorrhagic strokes are less common than ischemic strokes but are potentially more severe.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

This is also known as a “mini-stroke.” It is a bit different from the other types since blood flow to the brain is only obstructed for under five minutes. Treat this as a warning before you get a stroke.

If you do not get to an emergency room in Houston, you might have a full stroke within a year.

Major Causes of Stroke

Typically, strokes can be caused by two things:

  • A blockage of the arteries that deliver oxygenated blood to your brain by fat deposits or blood clots.
  • A rupture or a leak of the blood vessels in your brain

Other than the above, there are risk factors that you should consider, including:

  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity 
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet
  • Heart and artery disease
  • Age
  • Pregnancy

When Should You Go to the ER?

Call our doctor at Memorial Village ER immediately you notice the symptoms discussed above even if the symptoms seem to have disappeared. This is because, with a stroke, every minute that elapses means the more damage is taking place in the brain cells.

Remember, always treat a stroke as an emergency. 

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