Stroke is a life-threatening medical event that occurs when the brain’s blood supply is interrupted. Without the oxygen and nutrients supplied by adequate blood flow, brain cells suffer damage and death within 10 minutes of the event. A victim of stroke experiences sudden loss of function and cognitive difficulties.
There are two main types of these ‘brain attacks’: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke .
- An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot or local plaque buildup obstructs blood flow to a region of the brain. A clot can break off from another part of the brain or from anywhere else in the body and travel in the bloodstream to cause the obstruction. A clot can also form in an artery that is already very narrow. Fat, cholesterol, and other substances can form plaques that collect on the artery walls, which also can be the cause of a blockage.
- A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing blood to leak (hemorrhage) into the brain. The bleeding puts pressure on the brain and prevents cells from getting their normal blood supply.
Stroke symptoms typically develop suddenly and require immediate medical attention to minimize damage to the brain tissue. To minimize your risk for developing a stroke, consider speaking with your physician if you have any of the following risk factors:
- High blood pressure
- High homocysteine levels in the blood
- High cholesterol levels
- Cocaine, heroin, or amphetamine abuse
- Use of birth control pills if over the age of 35
- Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy
- Diabetes mellitus
- Atrial fibrillation
If you or a loved one experiences the symptoms of stroke, consider calling 911 and seeking medical assistance immediately. At Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center, our Primary Stroke Center is certified by the Joint Commission as a facility with the highest quality in stroke care. Don’t become a statistic—call us today at (702) 880-2100 to learn more stroke treatment and prevention.