Test your stroke IQ

January 20, 2010 8:09:35 AM PST
A stroke is a medical emergency, occurring when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or greatly reduced, according to the Mayo Clinic. Brain cells begin to die within moments. Major risk factors of a stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, family history and old age. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, according to the National Stroke Association.The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke, caused by too little blood in the brain. This is usually due to blood clots or clogged arteries. Ischemic strokes account for 80 percent of all strokes, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, strokes are not always caused by an insufficient amount of blood. Hemorrhagic strokes, also major strokes, are caused by too much blood in the skull.

SYMPTOMS: Knowing the symptoms of a stroke can help save lives. Those experiencing any signs of stroke are advised to seek immediate medical care. The Mayo Clinic identifies some key symptoms of stroke as:

  • Walking troubles: Stroke may be signified by stumbling and dizziness due to loss of balance and loss of coordination.
  • Speaking difficulty: Slurred speech and difficulty finding words are common during a stroke. If you have trouble repeating a simple sentence, you may be having a stroke.
  • Single side of the body paralysis or numbness: Sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis on just one half of the body may mean a stroke. Raise both arms in the air, and if one arm starts to fall without control, you may be having a stroke.
  • Impaired Vision: Blurred vision, blackened vision and seeing double may signify a stroke.
  • Headache: An unusual or sudden jolt of head pains that are sometimes paired with stiff necks, facial pains, pain between the eyes, vomiting or altered consciousness may all be symptoms of a stroke.

TREATMENT: Earlier treatments can reduce the brain damage caused by a stroke. Doctors recommend that strokes be treated no more than three hours after the stroke begins. According to Medicine Plus Medical Encyclopedia, blood thinners like heparin or warfarin help treat blood clots. Sometimes, aspirin is used. Painkillers help control severe headaches.

To repair clogged arteries, advanced radiologists sometimes use angiography to highlight clogged blood vessels and open them up for repair. In certain strokes, such as hemorrhagic stroke, surgery is often necessary to remove blood from around the brain and repair the damaged blood vessels. Sometimes, surgery is also needed on the carotid artery, according to Medicine Plus Medical Encyclopedia.

? For More Information, Contact:

Donna Pignataro
Assistant to Dr. Henry Woo
Stony Brook University Medical Center
Stony Brook, NY
(631) 444-9137