What is Stroke?
A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack." A stroke can injure the brain like a heart attack can injure the heart. A stroke occurs when part of the brain doesn't get the blood it needs.
There are two types of stroke:
- Ischemic stroke (most common type) -- This type of stroke happens when blood is blocked from getting to the brain. This often happens because the artery is clogged with fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) or a blood clot.
- Hemorrhagic stroke -- This type of stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, and blood bleeds into the brain. This type of stroke can be caused by an aneurysm -- a thin or weak spot in an artery that balloons out and can burst.
Stroke Symptoms ?
The symptoms of a stroke depend on what part of the brain and how much of the brain tissue is affected.
- Stroke symptoms usually come on suddenly—in minutes to an hour.
- There is usually no pain associated with the symptoms.
- The symptoms may come and go, go away totally, or get worse over the course of several hours.
- If the symptoms go away completely in a short time (fewer than 24 hours), the episode is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
- A third of all strokes occur during sleep, so people first notice the symptoms when they wake up.
- These are the common symptoms of stroke:
- Weakness in the arm or leg or both on the same side: This can range from total paralysis to a very mild weakness. Complete numbness or a pins-and-needles feeling may be present on one side of your body or part of one side of your body.
- Weakness in the muscles of the face: Your face may droop or look lopsided. Speech may be slurred because you can't control the movement of your lips or tongue.
- Difficulty speaking: You can't speak, speech may be very slurred, or when you speak, the words sound fine but do not make sense.
- Coordination problems: You may seem uncoordinated and stumble or have difficulty walking or difficulty picking up objects.
- Dizziness: You may feel drunk or dizzy or have difficulty swallowing.
- Vision problems: You may develop difficulty with vision, such as double vision, loss of peripheral (side) vision, or blindness. (Blurred vision by itself is not usually a symptom of stroke.)
- Sudden headache: A sudden, severe headache may strike like "a bolt out of the blue." Some people have called this the worst headache of their lives.
- Loss of consciousness: You may become unconscious, stuporous, or hard to arouse and could die.
What are the signs of a stroke?
A stroke happens fast. Most people have two or more signs.
The most common signs are:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg (mainly on one side of the body)
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance
- Sudden confusion or trouble talking or understanding speech
- Sudden bad headache with no known cause
Women may have unique stroke symptoms:
- Sudden face and arm or leg pain
- Sudden hiccups
- Sudden nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
- Sudden tiredness
- Sudden chest pain
- Sudden shortness of breath (feeling like you can’t get enough air)
- Sudden pounding or racing heartbeat