A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off.
Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain.
Without blood your brain cells can be damaged or die.
This damage can have different effects, depending on where it happens in your brain.
A stroke can affect the way your body works as well as how you think, feel and communicate.
Caused by a blockage or clot in a blood vessel in your brain.
The blockage can be caused when a substance called plaque builds up on the inside wall of an artery.
Caused when an artery in the brain breaks open. The interrupted blood flow causes damage to your brain. High blood pressure weakens arteries over time and is a major cause of hemorrhagic stroke.
Caused by a small clot that briefly blocks an artery.
It is sometimes called a mini-stroke or warning stroke.
The TIA symptoms usually last less than an hour, and may only last a few minutes.
TIAs are an important warning that a more serious stroke may occur soon.
They are a medical emergency – call 9-1-1.
The symptoms of a TIA can last as briefly as one minute.
Often, the symptoms are gone by the time you get to a doctor.
Your symptoms may not be present while a doctor evaluates you, so you have to describe the event after your symptoms have disappeared.
Several treatment options are available.
TIAs don’t cause lasting brain tissue damage or disabilities, but they can be an early warning sign, or precursor, for a stroke.
Treatment for TIAs focuses on starting or adjusting medications that improve blood flow to the brain.
It also requires identifying abnormalities that your doctor can fix to reduce your risk of future TIAs or strokes.
The different types of stroke have different causes.
However, stroke is more likely to affect people if they have the following risk factors:
being aged 55 years or older
a personal or family history of stroke
an inactive lifestyle
The best way to prevent a stroke is to address the underlying causes.
This is best achieved through lifestyle changes, including:
eating a healthy diet
maintaining a healthy weight
not smoking tobacco
avoiding alcohol or drinking moderately
Eating a nutritious diet means including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Be sure to eat little or no red or processed meat and limit intake of cholesterol and saturated fats.
Minimize salt intake to support healthy blood pressure.
keeping blood pressure under control
treating obstructive sleep apnea
As well as these lifestyle changes, a doctor can help to reduce the risk of future ischemic strokes through prescribing anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication.
In addition, arterial surgery can also be used to lower the risk of repeat strokes,
as well as some other surgical options still being studied.
All strokes are different. For some people the effects may be relatively minor and may not last long.
Others may be left with more serious problems that make them dependent on other people.
Unfortunately not everyone survives – around one in eight people die within 30 days of having a stroke. That’s why it’s so important to be able to recognise the symptoms and get medical help as quickly as possible.
The quicker you receive treatment, the better your chances for a good recovery.