Different types of stroke you should know

A stroke happens when circulation is unexpectedly interrupted, and a part of the brain is filled with oxygen. There are three main types of stroke which are treated differently by physicians.

In the United States, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death. Approximately 87 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes that occur when something blocks proper blood flow through a brain artery.

Stroke destroys tissue within the brain. Could be fatal. In addition, strokes are responsible for around 1 in 19 deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This article discusses the various types of strokes. It will also examine what causes each form of stroke, its possible signs, and some treatment options.

Ischemic stroke

Ischemic stroke
A person may have a stroke if the blood is unexpectedly interrupted, and the brain is deprived with oxygen.

The most common type of stroke is is an ischemic stroke. This happens when a clot in a blood vessel interferes with the normal flow of blood to the brain. Of example, this can happen when someone has atherosclerosis.

An ischemic stroke may also be caused by a blood clot moving from one area of the body to a blood vessel within the brain.

Symptoms

Symptoms of an ischemic stroke include:

  • sudden numbness in any area of the body
  • weakness on one side of the body
  • drooping on one side of the face
  • vision changes, especially in just one eye
  • dizziness or a loss of coordination
  • difficulty walking
  • confusion
  • a sudden, very intense headache with no known cause

Risk factors

Even though anyone can experience an ischemic stroke, there is a higher risk for certain groups. Some ischemic stroke risk factors include:

  • being female, as females live longer and are therefore more likely to live long enough to have a stroke
  • having vasculitis, which is a type of blood vessel inflammation
  • having atherosclerosis, which is a condition that causes fatty plaques to build up in the walls of arteries
  • smoking
  • drinking lots of alcohol
  • not getting very much exercise
  • being over the age of 65
  • having atrial fibrillation (A-fib), which is a heart condition that causes a rapid or irregular heart rate

Treatment

There is no cure for an ischemic stroke at present. Alternatively, immediate care seeks to remove the clot to prevent further damage to the brain.

The first procedure line appears to have a plasminogen activator, or alteplase, in the tissue. Administering this treatment through a vein in the arm will help to dissolve the blood clot rapidly and boost blood flow to the brain area affected by it.

In some cases, the surgical breakup or removal of the clot may be necessary using a procedure called thrombectomy. Thrombectomy works best when a surgeon handles the stroke symptoms within 6 hours of the onset. Thrombectomy can, however, improve results up to 24 hours after a stroke.

You may need a number of supportive treatments to help a person recover function and cope with the stress of having a stroke. These could include:

  • speech therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • physical therapy
  • psychological therapy

A doctor may also recommend making other lifestyle changes to reduce the likelihood of having another stroke, such as taking a lower fat diet or exercising more often.

Transient ischemic attack 

A transient ischemical attack (TIA), also called a mini-roke, is similar to an ischemic stroke in that it prevents blood flow to the brain temporarily.

Symptoms

TIAs can cause similar symptoms to ischemic stroke symptoms including:

  • confusion
  • trouble walking
  • drooping on one side of the face
  • tingling or numbness

The signs appear to be less severe however, and last just a few minutes. Unlike an ischemic stroke, when the clot either passes or dissolves, a TIA eliminates by itself.

Risk factors

Risk factors for a TIA are similar to those for an ischemic stroke, including:

  • being older
  • smoking
  • getting little exercise
  • having cardiovascular disease
  • having A-fib

TIAs occur before about 15 percent of strokes. This means that many people who suffer a TIA in the future will have an ischemic stroke.

Prevention

A person with a TIA should talk to a doctor about the changes in lifestyle, drugs, and other treatment options that may reduce the risk of an ischemic stroke.

Hemorrhagic stroke

 A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel either splits or bursts, leading to bleeding within the brain. The blood that builds up from the injury compresses the brain tissue surrounding it.

A hemorrhagic stroke, like other strokes, can cause quick death of the tissue.

Symptoms

Hemorrhagic stroke symptoms are similar to those of an ischemic stroke, and include:

  • numbness
  • loss of function, especially on one side of the body
  • drooping on one side of the face
  • trouble speaking
  • loss of consciousness
  • confusion
  • severe headache
  • seizure

Risk factors

The aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are two potential causes of hemorrhagic stroke.

An aneurysm is a blood vessel which is swollen and ballooning. A alteration in the size and shape of a blood vessel increases the risk of it splitting, causing a leak.

Most people with aneurysms have no symptoms, and the majority of aneurysms occur after age 40.

An aneurysm may be congenital or inherited, or may occur because of risk factors. Likelihood determinants for an aneurysm include:

  • having high blood pressure
  • smoking
  • drinking a lot of alcohol
  • using drugs, such as cocaine
  • being female
  • having experienced head trauma

The AVM, on the other hand, is a blood vessel that is misshapen. Only around one percent of the population has an AVM. Many people born with an AVM.

The blood vessel can burst or bleed, resulting in a hemorrhagic stroke.

A hemorrhagic stroke will rarely occur because of a sudden injury to the blood vessel, such as from:

  • whiplash
  • head trauma
  • holding the head in an unusual position

Isolated reports suggest that some people may experience bleeding from chiropractic neck treatments. In such situations, the person probably had underlying risk factors, such as an aneurysm.

Treatment

Often, a health care professional may drain the blood surgically and repair the blood vessel. Nevertheless, hemorrhagic strokes often need to be treated with fluid control and monitoring for symptoms including seizures.

A doctor may also offer medication to control the blood pressure to reduce the risk of brain damage.

Other types of stroke

If a health care practitioner is unable to determine the cause of disrupted blood flow to the brain, we call it a “cryptogenic” stroke.

A cryptogenic stroke has symptoms similar to those of other strokes. Medication can be difficult however, as doctors don’t know what causes them.

A doctor may do a wide variety of diagnostic tests for this purpose. We may also prescribe medication to minimize brain damage, or advise any changes in lifestyle to reduce the risk of another stroke.

Another type of stroke is a stroke in the brain stem. This is an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke happening in the brain stem.

Strokes of the brain stem often cause complex symptoms, and can be difficult to diagnose.

Some Brain Stem Stroke symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • numbness
  • trouble walking

The majority of strokes cause effects on only one side of the body. Nevertheless, strokes with the brain stem may cause symptoms on both sides of the body. They can also in some cases lead to paralysis.

Treatment for a stroke in the brain stem should be the same as with other strokes: removing the clot or preventing bleeding, depending on the possible cause. Breathing can also be affected by a brain stem stroke so emergency respiratory assistance may also be needed.

Summary

Health professionals recommend using the acronym “FAST” to recognize when someone is having a stroke and to intervene quickly. FAST is for:

  • F: face drooping
  • A: arm weakness
  • S: speech difficulties
  • T: time to seek emergency medical attention

A stroke constitutes a medical emergency. The person must start treatment at the earliest opportunity.

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