A stroke is a medical emergency that can happen to anyone at any time. When blood flow is cut off to an area of your brain, brain cells begin to die. If a stroke is not treated immediately, irreparable damage occurs, and you can lose abilities such as memory and muscle control. How much you’re affected depends on where in your brain the stroke occurs and how much of your brain sustains damage.
Primarily, there are two kinds of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic, and more than 80% of strokes are ischemic.
An ischemic stroke is a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain caused by a blood clot or a blocked blood vessel. The two main types of blood clots that can cause a stroke are thrombotic and embolic. A thrombotic blood clot forms at the site of the stroke in your brain, and an embolic blood clot forms in your heart or neck and travels to your brain.
Once your blood vessels are blocked, your brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die in minutes. High blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for an ischemic stroke. How quickly you get medical attention is critical for minimizing the long-term effects of the stroke.
A burst blood vessel or blood leaking into the brain causes hemorrhagic stroke. This is less common than ischemic strokes, occurring in less than 20% of men and women.
Strokes come on suddenly and need immediate medical attention, so it is important to recognize the signs for yourself or a loved one. Here’s what to look for:
The medical specialists at Interventional Neuro Associates recommend using the acronym “FAST” to help you remember symptoms:
Dr. Jeffrey Farkas and his colleagues often employ stroke intervention techniques with tissue plasminogen activator, a powerful intravenous protein. The sooner you receive TPA, the better it can break up a blood clot or dissolve a blockage. Not everyone is a candidate for TPA, but if you are, you can receive it up to four and a half hours from the onset of stroke symptoms.
Another highly effective way to remove a blocked blood vessel, a procedure known as a mechanical thrombectomy, uses a catheter. The doctors at Interventional Neuro Associates are highly experienced in performing this procedure, so you know you’re getting the best treatment available from leaders in the field.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of a stroke, call 911 right away. For more information, call or schedule an appointment online.