Not all strokes are the same.
Having a stroke or witnessing someone have a stroke is terrifying.
Taking quick and timely action can make a significant difference in their prognosis.
Additionally, the type of stroke experienced also impacts recovery.
According to a recent Verywell Health article titled “Everything You Should Know About Stroke,” understanding the type of stroke experienced can help medical professionals and caregivers respond appropriately.
Strokes, by their definition, involve an interruption of blood supply to a specific brain area.
What are the most common types of stroke?
When these strokes occur, a small arterial branch or artery supplying blood to a part of the brain is interrupted or obstructed.
The brain cells experience a deficiency of nutrients and oxygen.
The result is ischemic damage and death to these brain cells.
The individual who suffered the stroke will experience cognitive or physical problems related to the affected brain area.
As the name suggests, these strokes involve bleeding of a brain artery.
The bleeds lead to swelling, pressure, and eventual ischemic damage.
Because the artery is leaking, the area of the brain relying on this artery will get an insufficient blood supply.
Generally, these hemorrhagic strokes are more devastating than ischemic strokes.
Ultimately, the location and size of the stroke also matter.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).
These strokes are reversible because the interruption to blood flow is brief.
Typically, symptoms of temporary ischemia disappear within 24 hours.
Often, symptoms will be gone within a few seconds or minutes.
Because the blood flow is restored spontaneously, there is no permanent damage.
Does this mean individuals who suffer a TIA will have no future issues?
Often these “mini” or “almost” strokes are signs of a greater risk of having a full-blown stroke in the future.
Can people reduce their likelihood of having a stroke?
Certain lifestyle factors have been connected to an increased likelihood of stroke.
These include excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, poor diet, chronic stress, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Signs of the heightened risk of stroke include atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis involves the hardening or narrowing of arteries or blood vessels.
If this hardening or narrowing occurs in blood vessels in the brain, the heart, or carotid arteries, then the risk of restricted blood flow to the brain is higher.
Those who are obese or have high cholesterol or fat levels, high blood pressure, untreated diabetes, or heart disease have a greater risk of atherosclerosis.
Strokes are more common in those with cancer, chronic vascular or inflammatory diseases, severe infection, or a family history of strokes.
Getting older also increases risks.
If any of these heightened risk factors describe you, schedule an appointment with your physician to manage and reduce your risk of strokes.
Reference: Verywell Health (Feb. 27, 2023) “Everything You Should Know About Stroke”