You may have noticed all of our posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin for National Stroke Awareness Month. We also have several videos about strokes on our YouTube channel. Strokes can occur at ANY age. Nearly one-fourth of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.
Stoke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Every 4 minutes someone dies from a stroke. Nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. experience a stroke each year. A stroke happens every 40 seconds, and up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die during a stroke. A stroke is a medical emergency and timely treatment is crucial. Someone who had a small stroke may only have weakness of an arm or leg. But someone who had a larger stroke may be permanently paralyzed on one side of their body or lose their ability to speak. How a person is affected by a stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much of the brain is damaged. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than two-thirds will have some type of disability.
Types of Strokes
The three most common types of strokes are an ischemic, hemorrhagic and transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke).
Ischemic Stroke – This is the most common type of stroke. An ischemic stroke is an injury to the brain or blood clot to the brain in the cerebral artery. 87% of strokes are an ischemic stroke.
Cryptogenic Stoke – A stroke with unknown causes is called a cryptogenic stroke. 25% to 30% of ischemic strokes are cryptogenic. Cryptogenic stroke is higher in African Americans and Hispanics.
Hemorrhagic Stroke – A hemorrhagic stroke is a brain aneurysm, sudden burst in the brain or when a blood vessel ruptures spilling blood into the brain. It is the least common of the two types of stroke and often results in death.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) – A transient ischemic attack, is often called a mini-stroke. It occurs when blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short period of time. It is a warning sign that a full-blown stroke may be coming.
Brain Stem Stroke – A brain stem stroke has complex symptoms and is difficult to diagnose. A person may have vertigo, dizziness, severe imbalance, double vision, slurred speech and decreased level of consciousness.
Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke
Once you have had a stroke, you are at greater risk for another stroke. FAST is an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke. If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately.
F – FACE (Face Drooping) Ask the person to smile to see if their face is drooping.
A – ARMS (Arms Fall Down) Ask the person to raise their arms to see if they shift downward.
S – SPEECH (Slurred Speech) Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
T – TIME (Call 911) Get the person to the hospital immediately.
Other Symptoms of a Stroke
- Numbness of the face, arm, or leg
- Confusion and trouble speaking
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden loss of balance
- Severe headache
Treatment for a Stroke
The type of stroke a person has will depend on the treatment. Treatment for an ischemic stroke is to remove the clot with an endovascular procedure or a mechanical thrombectomy. Treatment for a hemorrhagic stroke is to stop the bleeding with mechanical treatments. Medications can be taken to control high blood pressure, lower the chances of forming clots and manage atrial fibrillation. For post-stroke recovery, occupational and physical therapy may prove helpful.
First Choice Neurology has several stroke specialists located throughout Florida. The medical offices are located in Aventura, Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, Plantation, and Tampa.
Dr. Felipe De Los Rios La Rosa is the Medical Director of the Stroke Program at Baptist Health South Florida and of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Baptist Hospital of Miami. Dr. Jennifer Buczyner currently serves as the stroke director at Jupiter Medical Center and was featured in Pinnacle magazine. The Stroke Treatment Team is led by Medical Director Dr. Paul Damski at Baptist Health South Florida.