A stroke, which is also called “brain attack” at times, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. If you think you or someone is having a stroke, there are signs and symptoms to watch out for, including trouble with understanding and speaking, paralysis of the face, leg, or arm, sudden headache, difficulty with walking, and vision problems.
But what could cause this deadly disease? Generally though, this happens when the blood supply that gets to the brain is reduced or interrupted. What occurs here is that the brain does not get the nutrients and oxygen it needs. This causes the brain cells to deteriorate and die. There are different kinds of stroke though and they have their own ways of affecting the brain.
Almost 85% of strokes are considered ischemic stroke, which is why this is considered the most common type. A stroke is taken as ischemic when the brain’s arteries are blocked or become narrowed. This causes severe reduction in blood flow. This phenomenon is known as ischemia.
There are two main kinds of ischemic strokes namely thrombotic and embolic stroke. In a thrombotic stroke, one of the arteries that supplies blood to the brain has some form of blood clotting. This may be due to fatty deposits or plaque buildup in the arteries and therefore causes blood flow to decrease. Embolic stroke, on the other hand, happens when any debris, including blood clots, form in other parts of the body, particularly the brain. The debris (embolus) then sweeps through the bloodstream, causing brain arteries to get blocked or become narrower.
Hemorrhagic strokes take place when your brain’s blood vessel ruptures or leaks. Hemorrhages caused by various conditions, such as uncontrolled hypertension, aneurysm, and overuse of anticoagulants, can a result to stroke. Sometimes, this type of stroke also happens when an abnormal tangle occurs within the blood vessels, although this is quite rare.
Hemorrhagic strokes can either be intracerebral or subarachnoid. In the first type, a blood vessel spills after bursting, causing the surrounding brain tissue to be damaged. In subarachnoid, an artery bursts and spills, filling the area between the skull and the brain. This causes severe headaches that suddenly occur.
There is also another type of stroke, known as transient ischemic attack or TIA, which is also known as ministroke. It is milder than the other two types of stroke and only happens temporarily, usually for less than five minutes.