14 Feb Stroke
There are two main types of strokes:
An ischemic stroke occurs when blood clots or plaque form in the brain or in vessels leading to the brain. A clot can even form elsewhere in the body and then break off and travel to the brain, causing a stroke. About 80% of all strokes are this type.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. This causes blood to seep into areas of the brain it is not supposed to be damaging the brain cells. These strokes are often caused by high blood pressure (remember that from the heart disease section?) or an aneurysm, which is a thinning (rather than a thickening) of the blood vessel wall. This makes the wall very weak and therefore that area of the wall can become enlarged and eventually rupture.
Detecting a stroke early can actually save a person’s life! Here are the symptoms to look out for:
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body. This can often cause the person’s face to “droop” on one side.
- Vision loss in one or both eyes, often described as “a curtain falling” or things appearing dim.
- Difficulty talking or understanding others. Slurred speech.
- A severe headache with a sudden onset.
- Loss of balance, combined with any of the symptoms above.
So, for example, if you were to walk into your math class one day and one side of your math teacher’s face now looks droopy and she is slurring her words, call 911 immediately!! This could be a sign that she is having a stroke and immediate treatment can both safe her life and reduce the severity of the stroke.
Do NOT give anyone you think is having a stroke any food, drinks or medication. Just call 911 immediately.
Do you know anyone who has recovered from a stroke? What kind of therapy helped the person?