Strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability among adults in the U.S. Strokes are serious medical emergencies, but with attentiveness and prompt treatment, you can reduce the risks and potential damage. At Modern Heart and Vascular, we believe in preventive care to minimize your chances of a serious brain attack. Learn more about what a stroke is, how to identify one and how our team at Modern Heart and Vascular can help you.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke is when a particular issue interrupts, reduces or diverts your brain’s blood supply. There are three main types of strokes, each associated with a different brain problem:

  1. Ischemic stroke: An ischemic stroke occurs when a narrowed artery or blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain. Without the proper supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients, parts of your brain begin to die. The longer the blockage lasts, the worse the damage will be. Ischemic strokes are the most common type.
  2. Hemorrhagic stroke: Hemorrhagic strokes result from a leaking or ruptured blood vessel. Several conditions can weaken your brain’s vessels, which will then break open. These ruptures interrupt blood flow, and the leaked blood puts excessive pressure on the brain cells and subsequently kills them.
  3. Transient ischemic attack (TIA): Also known as a mini-stroke, a TIA is similar to an ischemic stroke. However, a TIA is a temporary blockage that may only last a few minutes. These attacks are still medical emergencies and warning signs of a more severe stroke in the future.

Causes of Stroke

Several underlying conditions and factors can lead to a stroke. Anything resulting in plaque accumulation in your arteries can increase your chances of an ischemic stroke, including high cholesterol, heart disease or obesity. You’re at a higher risk for a hemorrhagic stroke if you have a blood vessel-related condition, such as high blood pressure.

Other medical and lifestyle risk factors that can increase your risk of stroke include:

  • - Cardiovascular disease
  • - Diabetes
  • - Physical inactivity
  • - Unhealthy diet
  • - Excessive use of substances
  • - Family history

Common Stroke Symptoms

Early recognition and treatment are essential with strokes. The sooner you or the patient gets care, the better. Stay aware of these common signs of a stroke:

  • - Paralysis or numbness — often in one side of the body
  • - Cognitive impairments
  • - Headache
  • - Vision problems in one or both eyes
  • - Trouble walking or balancing

Treatment for Stroke

Seek emergency medical care if you think you may be having a stroke. Doctors will perform diagnostic tests and procedures to determine the issue, and emergency treatment will depend on which type of stroke you’re experiencing. Medications and surgeries to clear a blockage or reduce pressure on the brain are common.

Stroke recovery treatment can be a long-term rehabilitation process, including medication and speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Stroke Prevention

You can use stroke prevention strategies to avoid ever having a stroke or minimize the chances of having another one. Making healthy lifestyle changes such as eating well, exercising regularly and managing your underlying conditions will help reduce your stroke risks. Your doctor might also recommend preventive medications depending on your risk level.

To learn more about stroke prevention, request an appointment at Modern Heart and Vascular today.

This page does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.

Modern Heart and Vascular Institute

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