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Stroke or brain attack occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or reduced drastically. The brain cells are deprived of oxygen and other nutrients and start dying after some time. Depending on the duration and treatment of the stroke, some parts of the body stop functioning resulting in paralysis and death. Strokes are the one of largest cause of death and disability worldwide.
Symptoms of stroke are:
1. Weakness or paralysis in one part of the body of face, arm or leg
2. Sudden blurred or decreased vision, difficulty speaking clearly and understanding speech
3. Sudden loss of balance or coordination and loss of memory.
Most people who have a stroke have no warning sign. Some people may suffer from a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), which is similar to a stroke, but the interruption of blood flow to the brain is only temporary. The duration of a TIA is shorter, lasting between a few minutes to a day.
Most of the strokes are ischemic strokes when a blood clot or other particles block the arteries in the brain, cutting off blood supply. A thrombotic stroke occurs when a blood clot is formed in carotid or other arteries in the brain. In an embolic stroke, the clot is usually formed in the heart or some other blood vessel and swept through the bloodstream.
Hemorrhagic strokes which occur when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures are less common. They are due to problems with the blood vessels due to very high blood pressure or weakness in the blood vessel walls.
If the person suffering from a stroke receives immediate medical attention, the damage due to the stroke can be limited and the person could recover fully from the side effects. For an ischemic stroke, doctors may inject a drug to dissolve the clot or carry out a surgical procedure which will remove the blockage. For hemorrhagic stroke, the ruptured blood vessel is sealed.
If the right side of the brain is damaged by the stroke, the functioning of the left side of the body is affected and vice versa. For rehabilitation of a stroke affected person, a team of medical professional including a speech and physical therapist may be required. Recovery can be a slow process. Most strokes occur in people who are older than 45 years. Though more men suffer from strokes compared to women, men are more likely to die from strokes.
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