Stroke

Stroke, also called a “brain attack,” is caused when a blood vessel bringing blood and oxygen to the brain gets blocked or ruptures. When this happens, brain cells do not get the blood that they need. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells stop working and die within minutes. The effects of stroke can be permanent depending primarily on where it occurs in the brain, and how long it takes to be treated.

Stroke is a 911 emergency. If recognized quickly, the experts at Pacific Stroke and Aneurysm Center can treat patients by offering blood clot-busting medication or a minimally invasive procedure to open a blocked artery that can minimize the effects of stroke. In addition to emergent care, we are committed to supporting the follow-up and recovery for stroke survivors at our clinic and support group.

Types of stroke

There are three types of stroke:

Ischemic stroke
Caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain
Hemorrhagic stroke
Caused when a blood vessel ruptures preventing blood flow to the brain
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
Also called a “mini stroke”, TIA is caused by a temporary clot that reduces or stops blood flow to the brain

In the United States, approximately 800,000 people will suffer a stroke annually and it is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, and accidents. More importantly, stroke is the leading cause of long-term adult disability in the U.S. Most people survive their first stroke, but their life and the lives of their family are forever changed.

Things to know

  1. Stroke is largely preventable
  2. The sooner a stroke is recognized and treated, the less likely it will cause permanent disability

Awareness

Awareness is key in recognizing stroke symptoms. This is currently where we have the most work to do regarding stroke.  For instance, did you know that two times more women die each year from stroke than from breast cancer? Despite this fact, a study done by the American Heart Association found that of women over age 25, only 25% could recognize signs of a stroke.

Stroke is time sensitive

Time lost equals brain lost. The typical patient loses about 2 million neurons per minute in which stroke is left untreated. Recognizing and reacting to the signs of stroke lead to significantly better outcomes, shorter hospital stays, and lower medical expenses. Acting quickly, in many cases, can stop stroke in its tracks and limit long-term disability.

spot a stroke FAST: stroke signs and symptoms

Source: American Stroke Association