A stroke is an extremely serious medical event that occurs when the blood supply to a portion of your brain is dramatically reduced or even halted. This stops the necessary oxygen and nutrients from getting to the brain cells, causing them to start dying in just minutes.
Even if it’s caught in time and the person’s life is saved, there are many complications that can be temporary or permanent. That said, the biggest factor in how severe the complications are will be how quickly proper treatment was received.
There are two main types of strokes, ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes involve the blockage of blood vessels, while hemorrhagic strokes occur when blood vessels rupture. The most common complication of any stroke will be paralysis on one side of the body, frequently affecting the ability to talk and swallow.
As a neurological problem, complications of a stroke can be extremely varied from person to person. Some people will have memory loss or trouble with cognition, while others may experience a distinct personality change. Chronic pain and numbness are also common issues for those who have suffered a stroke.
Even if complications are not permanent, the road to recovery is oftentimes challenging and requires plenty of support. However, the most crucial thing dictating future prospects is the speed of medical attention. This highlights the importance of early detection and proper treatment.
As mentioned, there are two main causes of a stroke. Either blood vessels become blocked, leading to an ischemic stroke, or they rupture, causing a hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic strokes are the most common form of stroke and are caused by fatty deposits lodging themselves in the small blood vessels of the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes can result from a variety of issues, including high blood pressure, taking too many blood thinners, trauma, and more.
Others may only experience a temporary block of their blood flow, leading to what’s known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Luckily, these events don’t cause long-lasting damage. Even so, you should still seek medical attention if you believe you’ve experienced a TIA.
As you can imagine, the main risk factors of a stroke include lifestyle choices such as inactivity, heavy drinking, being overweight, and smoking. However, those who have high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, or cardiovascular problems are all at a higher risk as well. Other risk factors include family history, being over the age of 55, male, or having taken hormone supplements.
Strokes are quite common, with nearly 800,000 reported cases each year in the US alone. Data indicates approximately 610,000 of them are first strokes, meaning only around 1 out of 4 who have a stroke, already had one. Ischemic strokes account for just under 90% of all cases.
Don’t wait to contact emergency medical professionals if you think you or a loved one may be having a stroke. As mentioned, the best way to improve the outlook is getting treatment at a hospital as soon as possible. If you’re recovering from a stroke, it’s important to stay on the lookout for new and effective treatments. That said, only a medical professional can get you on the right path to recovery.