What is a Stroke?
A stroke, sometimes called a "brain attack," occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. When a stroke occurs, brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to function.
What causes a stroke?
There are two major kinds of stroke. The first, called an ischemic stroke, is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. About 80 percent of all strokes are ischemic. The second, known as a hemorrhagic stroke, is caused by a blood vessel in the brain that breaks and bleeds into the brain. About 20 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic.
What disabilities can result from a stroke?
Although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. The effects of a stroke range from mild to severe and can include paralysis, problems with thinking, problems speaking ,and emotional problems. Patients may also experience pain or numbness after a stroke.
Know the Signs
Because stroke injures the brain, you may not realize that you are having a stroke. To a bystander, someone having a stroke may just look unaware or confused. Stroke victims have the best chance if someone around them recognized the symptoms and acts quickly.
Did you know that someone dies from a stroke every 3.3 minutes?
What should a bystander do?
If you believe someone is having a stroke - if he or she suddenly loses the ability to speak, or move an arm or leg on one side, or experiences facial paralysis on one side - call 911 immediately.
Why is there a NEED TO ACT FAST?
Ischemic strokes, the most common type of strokes, can be treated with a drug called t-PA that dissolves blood clots obstructing blood flow to the brain.
The window of opportunity to start treating stroke patients is three hours, but to be evaluated and receive treatment, patients need to get to the hospital within 60 minutes.
What are the SYMPTOMS of a STROKE?
The symptoms of stroke are distinct because they happen quickly:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Erica O'Brien, MS, RN
Stroke Coordinator, UP Health System - Marquette