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A stroke is the condition that occurs when blood supply to an area of the brain is interrupted or cut off due to blood vessel blockage or rupture. This results in brain tissue damage and brain cell death, thus disrupting and/or causing loss of certain brain functions.
There are 2 main types of stroke:
There are a variety of factors which can increase the risk of a stroke. These are divided into uncontrollable risk factors and controllable risk factors.
Insufficient blood supply to the brain results in the inability of the brain to function normally. Symptoms will be more or less serious depending on the size of the brain damage and the location or part of the brain affected.
Symptoms of stroke include:
The onset of these symptoms always occurs suddenly.
Some patients may experience transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), also known as mini-strokes, which may occur a few times before an actual stroke. Signs and symptoms appear temporarily, disappearing within 24 hours.
TIAs are a warning sign that a full-blown stroke can occur within one week, especially within the first 24 hours after the initial TIA. These warnings occur in only about 10% of cases; the other 90% have no warning.
If any of these abnormal symptoms occur, it is vital that patients seek immediate medical attention. As a stroke can be severe and potentially life-threatening, the outcome depends on how soon treatment starts.
Current diagnostic methods are highly effective and are able to identify the location of the damage or abnormalities in the brain or blood vessels, as well as any conditions and causes that could be risk factors for stroke.
The preferred method of stroke treatment depends on whether the stroke is ischemic or hemorrhagic, each with a different treatment approach, as follows:
Prevention is always the best treatment, and prevention of stroke includes controlling risk factors.
Tips for stroke prevention:
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FAST is an easy-to-remember way to recognize the signs of stroke. Learn more in our infographic.
According to the American Heart Association, stroke was the second leading global cause of death behind heart disease in 2013, accounting for 11.8% of total deaths worldwide.
Minimizing the long-term effects of stroke requires fast action, an important lesson the Thanaratsuthikul family learned during the most critical moments of their mother’s stroke.