Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. Disruption in blood flow is caused when either a blood clot blocks one of the vital blood vessels in the brain (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into surrounding tissues (hemorrhagic stroke).
The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to function. Even a brief interruption in blood supply can cause problems. Brain cells begin to die after just a few minutes without blood or oxygen. A loss of brain function occurs with brain cell death. This may include impaired ability with movement, speech, thinking and memory, bowel and bladder, eating, emotional control, and other vital body functions. Recovery from stroke and the specific ability affected depends on the size and location of the stroke. A small stroke may result in problems such as weakness in an arm or leg. Larger strokes may cause paralysis (inability to move part of the body), loss of speech, or even death.
There are a number of factors that may contribute to causing a stroke, including:
Symptoms of a stroke may be sudden and include:
All of the above warning signs may not occur with each stroke, so do not ignore any of these symptoms. Even if the symptoms go away, take action immediately.
Other, less common, symptoms of stroke may include the following:
For patients who suffer a stroke, specialists at our Center for Cerebrovascular Diseases. deliver rapid, accurate, and advanced assessment and treatment. Stroke is an emergency, and the greatest chance for recovery from stroke occurs when treatment is started immediately.
There are several treatment options for stroke, and the best treatment will depend on the patient’s age, health, and medical history as well as the severity, location, cause, and type of stroke. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. Several types of surgery may be performed to help treat a stroke, or help to prevent a stroke from occurring, including:
Read the video transcript Innovative and Minimally Invasive Treatments for Stroke and Brain Aneurysm Patients.
This video animation demonstrates a mechanical thrombectomy for revascularization to remove a blood clot in the brain. Quick medical treatment to remove the clot is critical to prevent ischemic stroke. Learn more about the Center for Cerebrovascular Diseases.
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