Strokes can occur for one of two reasons. It can be the result of a blood clot that has stopped the flow of blood to the brain, or it is when an artery bursts and causes bleeding in the brain. When this happens, the brain does not get the required amount of oxygen and nutrients that it needs. Brain cells will begin to die quickly when this happens. Unless it is treated in time, this can result in permanent loss of body functions controlled by the damaged part of the brain. In some cases, it even results in death.
The Three Types of Stroke
Almost 90 percent of all strokes are Ischemic strokes. This type of stroke is the result of a blood clot restricting blood flow to the brain. Most will survive this type of stroke, but they may have long-lasting cognitive or physical damage.
Hemorrhagic strokes are less common, but they are more dangerous. Roughly 40 percent of hemorrhagic strokes end in death. This type of stroke is caused by a blood vessel rupturing in the brain. Victims usually suffer a sudden severe headache or lose consciousness.
Transient ischemic attacks or TIAs are mini-strokes. They will usually only last 15 minutes at the most. This type of stroke is due to a temporary loss of blood circulation. TIAs need to be taken seriously as they are often a warning sign of a more severe stroke that is about to occur.
Who is at Risk?
Although anyone can suffer a stroke, they are most common in those that are 65 years of age or older. Women are more likely to have a stroke than men. Among all racial groups in the United States, African Americans have the highest risk of experiencing a stroke. This is simply because they are more likely to have high blood pressure or Sickle Cell Anemia which causes blood cells to clump together.
The resulting consequences of a stroke vary from one patient to the next. They can range from confusion and mild weakness to paralysis, impaired speech, impaired vision, or dementia. Over two-thirds of the stroke victims experience some kind of lasting disability.
Causes of Stroke
Over half of all strokes are related to the hardening of arteries. Plaque builds up within the arteries. When pieces of it break off, they can be carried to the brain. This results in a stroke. Blood clots can also build upon the plaque and break off as well with the same results. The following can increase one’s chance of having a stroke.
• High Blood Pressure
• High Cholesterol
• Kidney Disease
• TIAs or a Previous Stroke
Symptoms of Stroke
Warning signs include numbness, sudden weakness, or trouble seeing. This often only affects one side of the body. You may also notice dizziness, confusion, trouble walking, a sudden headache, or slurred speech.
If a loved one is experiencing signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately. The chances of significant disability and speech damage can be reduced with clot removing surgery or clot-dissolving drugs when administered quickly.
If the symptoms stop, you still need to seek medical attention. Doctors can determine if it was an actual stroke or a warning sign of one to come. Among those that have already had a stroke, 25 percent will experience another one within five years. In addition, anyone that has had a TIA will now have an increased chance of having a higher risk stroke. These more significant strokes can happen within the first few weeks of the TIA.
The drug tPA is the best treatment for ischemic strokes. It breaks down the blood clot when administered by IV within three hours of the stroke. This will reduce brain damage. Surgery can also help. Doctors place a tube within the artery to either remove the clot or stop the bleeding.
Medication will play an important part in controlling the causes of the stroke such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. Some victims may need nothing more than a daily aspirin. In addition, one needs to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Lifestyle changes included the following.
• Limiting Alcohol
• Stop Smoking
• Maintain a Healthy Weight
• Exercise Regularly
• Eat a Healthy Diet
How can LaBier Assisted Living Help?
LaBier Assisted Living can help you care for a loved one that has suffered a stroke. The staff is highly skilled in helping stroke victims with daily activities such as grooming, hygiene, and managing their medications. Labier can also help with memory care. All of this is provided in a home-like environment supported by quality care and proper nutrition. You will be able to rest assured that your loved one is in good hands.