There are two main types of stroke, ischemic, and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are more common, and involve a blockage such as a blood clot preventing the blood flow in a blood vessel leading to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes involve the actual bursting of a blood vessel leading to the brain. In both cases the lack of blood flow to the brain can cause brain damage in varying severity depending on where the damage occurs. Similar to these two types of strokes, but less severe in nature, are TIA's or Transient Ischemic Attacks, aka "mini strokes". TIA's occur when instead of a complete blockage or rupture of a blood vessel, the blood flow is merely slowed down for a short amount of time.
Symptoms of a stroke include headache, loss of consciousness, blurred vision, loss of strength on one side of the body, drooping on one side of the mouth while smiling, and slurred speech. The easiest way to tell if someone may be suffering from a stroke is to ask them to smile, you will notice a marked difference on one side of their mouth.
The treatment of a stroke is aimed at first diagnosing what kind of stroke the patient is suffering from. After diagnosis is complete, treatment may involve surgery to remove a blood clot or to repair a damaged blood vessel, thrombolytic medications used to dissolve blood clots, as well as anti platelet medications used to prevent further blood clots.
I encourage you to discuss with your doctor what your risk factors for stroke may be. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, advancing age, and atrial fibrillation all increase your chances. For more information on strokes, please visit ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
Justin Glaze is an LPN and contributing columnist for the Walker County Messenger. He can be reached at 678-988-1011 or email@example.com.