A brain attack, or damage to part of the brain, results from a prolonged interruption of the blood supply, leading to the loss of functions controlled by the affected brain area.
Pre-stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack or mini-stroke, occurs when blood flow to part of the brain stops for a brief period. Temporary symptoms appear for minutes to hours and serve as a crucial warning sign of a possible stroke in the future. Causes include decreased blood flow in a narrowed main artery, a blood clot traveling from another part of the body, or narrowing and blockage of small blood vessels in the brain. Immediate emergency care is necessary when symptoms such as numbness, weakness, difficulty speaking, poor vision, walking difficulties, dizziness, and severe headaches occur.
Types of strokes include ischemic (thrombotic) stroke, caused by blocked blood vessels, and hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke, caused by burst blood vessels. The brain’s need for a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients is cut off during a stroke, leading to cell death and subsequent brain function deficits.
Risk factors include advanced age, family history of heart disease or stroke, previous transient ischemic attacks, history of blood clots, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, lack of physical activity, obesity, smoking, drug use, And alcohol consumption.
Recognizing stroke symptoms, such as sudden facial weakness, arm numbness, difficulty speaking, and vision problems, is critical for timely intervention. Complications may include infections, brain swelling, skin ulcers, paralysis, speech and swallowing difficulties, memory loss, thinking problems, depression, and leg vein clots.
Diagnosis involves evaluating the type of stroke and the areas of the brain affected through tests such as CT scans, MRIs, and cardiovascular scans. Treatment depends on the type of stroke and when symptoms appear, and often includes medications (including blood thinners and clot busters), surgery to remove the clot, and rehabilitation services such as physical and occupational therapy.
Preventive measures include awareness of warning signs, managing health problems, adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, quitting smoking, and controlling blood pressure through lifestyle changes and prescribed medications.