Because anyone can have a stroke, there are things you need to know about strokes. A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel ruptures. When either of these things happen, brain cells die and brain damage occurs, causing minor or serious disabilities. Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death and a major cause of adult disabilities, which is why there are things you need to know about strokes.
1. Types of Stokes
One of the things you need to know about strokes is there are several different types of strokes, which all result in brain damage, even though they are all caused by something different. Ischemic strokes, embolic strokes, and thrombotic strokes are all caused by blood clots. Small blood vessel disease or lunar infarctions are strokes caused by blood flow being blocked to the small blood vessels. Finally, hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel ruptures.
2. Warning Signs
Knowing the warning signs of a stroke is extremely important because catching a stroke early can save someone’s life. When learning the warning signs of a stroke, you should remember the acronym F.A.S.T., which stands for face, arms, speech, and time. During a stroke a person may have one side of their face droop when they smile. Their arms will drift down if they try to hold them straight out, and their speech will become slurred or strange. When any of these things happen you need to act quickly and call 911.
3. Symptoms in Women
While women will often exhibit the classic stroke symptoms I mentioned, they can also experience symptoms that are unique to females. Women may have face and limb pain, hiccups, nausea, weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath, and palpitations. All of these symptoms will come on suddenly. Watching for these additional signs in women is also important because they can indicate a stroke.
Transient ischemic attacks are an additional type of stroke that you should be aware of. These strokes are also called mini strokes. While the symptoms of TIAs are the same, they generally don’t result in permanent damage or disability. This is due to the fact that the blood vessel blockage that causes these strokes only lasts a short period of time. Although TIAs are not as damaging, they are often followed by a major stroke. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to them.
5. Treatment and Recovery
For strokes caused by a blood clot, doctors can administer Activase within the first three hours of the stroke to break up the clot, which is why it is so important to catch a stroke early. While a clot can still be removed after the three hour time frame, the damage is usually much more and Activase can’t be used. After the stroke is treated, patients begin the recovery process with physical and occupational therapy.
Eighty percent of strokes can be prevented, which is great news. Thankfully, stroke prevention is easy and just requires lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, and keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol in a healthy range can all help. Exercising, eating a low fat and low salt diet, and including plenty of produce in your diet can also help decrease the chance of having a stroke.
7. Anyone Can Have a Stroke
One of the biggest myths about strokes is that they only happen to the elderly. Anyone at any age can have a stroke. Even infants can have a stroke! While this may surprise you, it is important to know, because you will know to act if you see stroke like symptoms in younger individuals.
Strokes can be devastating, but knowing the warning signs of stroke can help you act fast and keep damage as minimal as possible. Did you know the acronym for stroke symptoms?