Recently, my mother called me to tell me she survived a mini-stroke. Her speech seemed muddled and incoherent. Almost immediately, thoughts began rushing through my head.
Is she dying?
What else is wrong that my mother was not telling me?
Is there anything either her or her and my stepfather could do to help her bounce back from this mini-stroke?
During the course of the next several articles, we will find out the different forms of strokes, their causes, treatments both in and out of the hospital, as well as what we can do to prevent a stroke from even happening.
I. What is a Stroke?
Blood flows to the brain carrying the necessary oxygen it needs to survive and thrive. However, when that blood flow stops, the oxygen cannot reach that part of the brain. In that case, the blood cells in that part of the brain begin to suffocate and eventually die. What’s even worse is that the functions that part of the brain controls die with it. This leads to a variety of problems such as memory loss, loss of motor function, numbness to an entire side of the body, and it can even lead to death.
II. What are the different types of strokes?
A. ISCHEMIC STROKES: This is the most common of the strokes.
B. HEMORRHAGIC STROKES: Bleeding in the brain.
C. TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACKS (or TIA): The lighter side of strokes.
III. What causes these types of strokes?
A. Ischemic Strokes are caused by a fat-like substance known as plaque collecting in your arteries which can not only slow the flow of blood to the brain, but it can also stop it altogether. There are 2 different types of Ischemic Strokes.
1. Thrombotic Strokes: These are caused by the plaque clots that form in the artery in charge of supplying blood to your brain.
2. Embolic Strokes: These type of strokes can form somewhere else in your body and travel to your brain and stop the flow of blood going there.
B. Hemorrhagic Strokes are caused when there is bleeding inside your brain that causes damage to all cells that are nearby. Also, this particular stroke can be caused by an abnormality in blood vessels that open up and bleed.
C. Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA) are caused by a minor block of blood flow in your brain. This stroke typically last only a short time.
IV. What are the symptoms of these strokes?
A. Ischemic Strokes: With these types of strokes, you may experience confusion and loss of memory, problems with speaking and vision, and weakness especially in the arms and legs not to mention dizziness, loss of coordination and balance.
B. Hemorrhagic Strokes: These types of strokes can be accompanied by confusion along with an intense headache, nausea, passing out, along with issues with his vision.
C. Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA): These “drive-by strokes” come with dizziness, trouble with your vision and speech, headaches, confusion, and can even render one side of your body completely numb.
Knowing what we now know, who are the like candidates for a stroke? Read on.
V. Stroke Candidates
While each stroke type may carry its own criteria for candidates, there are several common threads that tie them together.
1. Age: As we get older, our bodies begin breaking down and becoming more susceptible to injury and sickness
2. High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can cause a stroke by damaging the brain cells responsible for delivering oxygen to the brain and causing them to rupture. Also, high blood pressure can cause your blood to clot. Delivering the same result of the brain not getting the oxygen it needs.
3. Smoking: Another brain cell killer. By smoking, you ingest chemicals that go from your lungs into the bloodstream. These chemicals disrupt, damage, and even kill the cells in the blood that delivers oxygen to the brain causing a great risk of strokes. As if that was not enough, smoking also causes you to lose HDL, commonly called the good cholesterol making you defenseless against the threat of a stroke.
More bad news for smokers who do not wish to have a stroke. By the ingestion of the chemicals found in cigarettes, you run the risk of damaging your arterial walls and the chemicals also affect the production of platelets in the blood making it more likely for the blood to clot. Which we know after reading this article, the clotting of the blood prevents the brain from getting the oxygen it needs thus causing strokes.
Now that you know how we unintentionally make ourselves vulnerable to strokes, what can we do, outside of the hospital, that can help us treat, and perhaps lower your risk of becoming stroke’s latest victim? Here are a few suggestions.
VI. Preventative Measures
1. Check your blood pressure: Strokes aside, knowing what your blood pressure is and having it checked often, could mean the difference between life and death.
2. Smoking kills: Quit em if you got em. Don’t start if you haven’t.
3. Lose weight, feel great: One of the biggest problems in America today. Obesity causes high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Beware. You will be a great candidate for stroke if you don’t keep your weight under control.
4 Be active: Keep that blood pumping. Not to mention the weight loss benefits of exercise.
5. Sweet blood: Know your blood sugar levels and your cholesterol.
6. Diet: lower your intake of salt and potassium. Your body will thank you for it.
7. Warning, warning: Keep an eye out for the warning signs. If trouble arises, seek medical attention.
Well, there you have it.
Never take symptoms lightly. If you even suspect you are having any of the symptoms, you should get to a doctor immediately. It could mean the difference between life and death.
Don’t let a stroke strike you out. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.