Strokes used to rank fourth among leading causes of death in the United States, but they’ve dropped to fifth. This is largely due to improvement in treatment, but another factor is awareness. When people know how to identify warning signs of a stroke, they’re better able to seek treatment in time to prevent a tragedy. Do you know how to identify stroke symptoms?
There are five different types of strokes. The three most common are the ischemic stroke, the hemorrhagic, and the transient ischemic attack. Each type of stroke has its own effects on the body and its own causes.
- The ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. They account for about 87 percent of strokes, and they happen when blood flow to the brain is blocked. Typically, the blockage is caused by a clot in the blood vessel.
- A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel ruptures. When the blood from a ruptured vessel bleeds into the brain, it accumulates, compressing the brain tissue. This damages brain cells by putting pressure on them. High blood pressure and aneurysms can cause a hemorrhagic stroke.
- The transient ischemic attack (TIA) is also known as a mini-stroke. These “warning” strokes are often ignored because they only last for a few minutes. Like ischemic strokes, they’re caused by a blockage in a blood vessel. With a TIA, though, this blockage is short-term. Over one-third of people who have a TIA and don’t get treatment can expect to have a major stroke within one year, so it’s important not to ignore the symptoms. Symptoms of a TIA include
- Cryptogenic strokes most often impact people of African-American or Hispanic descent. There’s no known cause for this type of stroke, but there are several likely causes your doctor will want to explore. Irregular heartbeat, heart structure problems, hardening of the arteries, and blood clotting disorders all factor into cryptogenic strokes.
- Brain stem strokes happen at the brain stem. The brain stem is only half an inch in diameter, but it controls all the basic activities of the nervous system. That’s why a stroke at the brain stem can cause severe symptoms.
Despite the differences in causes, strokes present with similar symptoms. Suddenly experiencing numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, especially if it’s just on one side of the body, could be a stroke. You may experience sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, difficulty seeing, trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or a sudden lack of coordination. A stroke can also present as a severe, sudden headache with no discernible cause.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a stroke, call 911 or get to Exceptional Healthcare immediately. We can provide the care you need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even on holidays. With 13 different locations across Texas to serve you, we’re here to help when you have an emergency. Visit our website to learn more or drop by to see our facilities for yourself.