First Choice Neurology

Understanding Stroke: Causes, Symptoms, and Advanced Treatments

Stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when there is a disruption in the blood supply to the brain, leading to damage or death of brain cells. It is the 5th cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. Understanding stroke by recognizing the signs, and the causes, and seeking timely treatment are crucial for minimizing the impact of a stroke. In this blog, we will discuss the types of strokes, causes, symptoms, and cutting-edge treatments available, highlighting the expertise of First Choice Neurology’s top Stroke Specialists in Florida.

 

Types of Stroke imageTypes of Strokes

There are three main types of strokes: ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and transient ischemic attack.

1. Ischemic Stroke:
The most common type of stroke, ischemic stroke, occurs when a blood clot or plaque blocks a blood vessel, reducing blood flow to the brain. Plaques are fatty deposits that can build up in arteries over time, narrowing or blocking them. This is known as atherosclerosis, the main cause of an ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke, accounting for about 87% of all strokes.

2. Hemorrhagic Stroke:
Resulting of bleeding in the brain, hemorrhagic strokes can be further classified into intracerebral hemorrhage (within the brain tissue) or subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the space around the brain). Hemorrhagic strokes can be caused by conditions such as high blood pressure or aneurysms.

3. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA):
A transient ischemic attack (TIA), often referred to as a “mini-stroke,” is a short-term blockage of blood flow to the brain. It’s often caused by a blood clot that travels from elsewhere in the body to the brain’s blood vessels. Other causes include air bubbles or fatty material. TIAs don’t cause permanent damage, but they are a “warning stroke” that can signal a full-blown stroke. The effects of a TIA last a few minutes to a few hours and fully resolve within 24 hours.

Atherosclerosis is a chronic condition that causes arteries to thicken and harden. It’s caused by a buildup of plaque, which is a combination of fats, cholesterol, and other substances, in the inner lining of an artery. Atherosclerosis often has no symptoms until a plaque ruptures or blocks blood flow. The first visible sign is a “fatty streak,” which is a yellow patch or streak of dead foam cells. Symptoms depend on which arteries are affected and how much blood flow is blocked. They can include chest pain, cold sweats, dizziness, extreme tiredness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, nausea, and weakness.

 

Stroke Prevention

Reduce your risk of having a stroke. Up to 80% of strokes may be prevented. Work with your doctor to create a secondary stroke prevention plan and stick with it.

Prevention Checklist – Take these steps to help prevent having a stroke:
• Know the cause of a stroke.
• Manage high blood pressure.
• Control your cholesterol.
• Reduce your blood sugar.
• Be active.
• Eat better.
• Lose weight.
• Stop smoking.
• Take medications as prescribed.

 

Understanding Stroke Symptoms

Recognizing the signs of a stroke is crucial for seeking immediate medical attention. Common symptoms include:
• Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
• Facial paralysis, where your face starts to fall, and you drool or choke.
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or problems with balance.
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Stroke Symptoms image

A stroke is always a medical emergency – EVERY Second Counts! The longer it goes untreated the greater the chance of lasting damage. Time lost is brain lost. Learn to recognize the signs of stroke using the letters F-A-S-T 

  • F – Face Drooping
  • A – Arm Weakness
  • S – Speech Difficulty
  • T – Time to Call 911

Prompt recognition and action can significantly improve outcomes, making it essential for individuals to be aware of these warning signs.

 

Understanding Stroke Treatments

  • Treatment for ischemic stroke often involves the administration of clot-busting drugs like tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). A healthcare provider will inject tPA into a vein in your arm within 3 hours after stroke symptoms start. Alteplase is most effective if started as soon as possible after the stroke occurs, but it’s not generally recommended if more than 4.5 hours have passed. Another treatment is mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure to physically remove the clot.
  • Addressing the underlying cause, controlling bleeding, and managing elevated intracranial pressure is crucial in the treatment of hemorrhagic strokes. Surgical interventions may be necessary in some cases.
  • Following the acute phase of treatment, rehabilitation is essential to help stroke survivors regain lost skills and enhance their quality of life. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy play integral roles in the recovery process. Rehabilitation begins in the hospital, often within a day or 2 after the stroke. Rehab can help ease the transition from hospital to home and can help prevent another stroke. Recovery time after a stroke is different for everyone—it can take weeks, months, or even years.

 

First Choice Neurology: Leading Stroke Specialists in Florida

First Choice Neurology boasts a team of top-tier Stroke Specialists across Florida, committed to providing exceptional care to stroke patients. With a focus on the latest advancements in stroke management, the specialists at First Choice Neurology offer comprehensive evaluations, personalized treatment plans, and ongoing support for stroke survivors.

 

Upcoming Events: Neurology Update & Stroke Intensive Review and the 11th Annual Stroke Conference

First Choice Neurology is dedicated to staying at the forefront of neurological advancements. Our team will be attending the Neurology Update & Stroke Intensive Review from February 29 to March 2 in Coral Gables, where they will engage in discussions on the latest developments in stroke care. Additionally, First Choice Neurology will be present at the 11th Annual Stroke Conference on April 6, held at the B Resort, Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Attendees can visit our booth to learn more about our services and meet our experts.

 

Comprehensive and Cutting-Edge Stroke Care

A stroke is a medical emergency that requires swift and informed action. By understanding the causes, recognizing symptoms, and exploring advanced treatment options, individuals can empower themselves to mitigate the impact of strokes. First Choice Neurology’s commitment to excellence, showcased through our participation in upcoming events and our team of esteemed Stroke Specialists, positions our group as a leader in neurological care in Florida. Stay informed, prioritize your health, and trust First Choice Neurology for comprehensive and cutting-edge stroke care.

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