By: Tariq U. Azam

A stroke is a medical condition in which blood supply is interrupted to part of the brain, leading a variety of symptoms. There are two categories of stroke. An ischemic stroke, which is when there is a lack of blood flow through one or more of the blood vessels supplying the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke, in which there is bleeding into the brain caused by a ruptured blood vessel.

The symptoms of stroke depend on where in the brain the stroke occurred. The most common symptoms are weakness in the body or facial muscles, numbness, severe headache, difficulty speaking, or vision loss.

There are many diseases and conditions that can put a person at risk for stroke. Irregular blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking tobacco, and a heart condition called atrial fibrillation place people at high risk. Controlling these conditions and stopping any smoking are key in reducing risk.

If caught early, meaning in the first few hours after a stroke starts, there are medications that can be administered to try to prevent permanent damage from a stroke. If these cannot be used, medications like aspirin can be used to prevent additional strokes.

After a person has a stroke, they can have permanent disabilities from it. Some patients may even die from a stroke or  its complications. That is why early recognition and prevention are so important.

The most important thing for stroke care is recognizing strokes early. A common and useful tool is the F-A-S-T acronym. F-A-S-T stands for:

 

F – Facial drooping

A – Arm weakness

S – Speech difficulty

T – Time to call emergency services

 

For more information, please discuss with your physician. The above is informational material only and does not constitute medical advice.

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