What is a Stroke?
A stroke results from a disease process that affects the arteries of the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel bringing blood to the brain gets blocked or ruptures so brain cells don't get the flow of blood that they need. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells cannot function and die within minutes. When these nerve cells die, the parts of the body they control cannot function either. These devastating effects are often permanent because brain cells cannot be replaced.
Other names for a stroke include:
- Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA)
- Ischemic Stroke
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
- Intracranial Hemorrhage (ICH)
- Cerebral Thrombosis
What are the different types of Strokes?
There are three types of strokes:
- An Ischemic Stroke is a stroke caused by a blocked artery. This is the most common type of stroke and can sometimes be treated with clot busting drugs.
- A Hemorrhagic Stroke is a stroke caused by bleeding into the brain tissue. This stroke is caused by a ruptured blood vessel.
- A (TIA), or a Transient Ischemic Attack.
What is a TIA?
A TIA, or a Transient Ischemic Attack. is also called a “mini stroke” and occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery for a short time. The symptoms of a TIA are like the warning signs of a stroke but they usually last only a few minutes. About 10 % of strokes are preceded by TIAs and are a very strong predictor of stroke risk. TIAs are a medical emergency and should be treated immediately.
Warning signs of a stroke can include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you recognize any of these symptoms, act FAST.
- "F" stands for Face. Ask the person to smile. If the face is droopy on one side, that is a sign of a stroke. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
- "A" stands for Arm. Ask the person to raise both arms. If one arm drifts down or has no resistance to it that is a sign of a stroke. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
- "S" stands for Speech. Ask the person to say a simple phrase. If the person's speech is slurred or not able to be understood. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
- "T" stands for Time. Diagnosis and treatment of an ischemic stroke must be within 3 hours of the time of onset of symptoms. Call 9-1-1 immediately
Are You Smoking?
- Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and emphysema.
- An estimated 25.1 million men and 20.9 million women smoke cigarettes.
STOP SMOKING NOW!!
Smoking can make cardiovascular disease worse, so if you smoke, you should stop immediately.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (BP), is the single most important risk factor for stroke. Many believe control of high blood pressure is a key reason to decrease the death rates for stroke.
It is estimated that the prevalence of high blood pressure in adults over the age of 20 is approximately 72 million in the United States alone.
Up to 95 % of high blood pressure are from unknown causes, but the condition is easily detectable and treatable.
In addition to medications, diet, exercise, and weight loss can assist in controlling your blood pressure.
- Please ask to see a dietitian to assist you with healthy diet choice to lower both your blood pressure and cholesterol
- Normal blood pressure is 120/80
- High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher
High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)
About 36 million American adults have total cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dL.
- Normal total cholesterol should be below 200 mg/dL.
- Normal triglyceride level should be below 150mg/dL.
- Normal HDL, or good cholesterol, should be 40 mg/dL or higher.
- Normal LDL, or bad cholesterol, should be less than 100 mg/dL
In addition to medications, diet, exercise, and weight loss can help control cholesterol levels.
Diabetes is an independent risk factor for stroke. Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and are overweight. Diabetes is manageable with medications such as insulin, glipizide, and/or glyburide. Diet and exercise can also help manage diabetes.
Your physician may perform a lab test called a hemoglobin A1C which will let them know how well your diabetes has been controlled in the last 90 days.
For someone who does not have diabetes, a normal A1C level should range from 4.5% to 6%. Someone who's had uncontrolled diabetes for a long time might have an A1C level above 8%.
When the A1C test is used to diagnose diabetes, an A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates you have diabetes. For most people who have previously diagnosed diabetes, an A1C level of 7% or less is a common treatment target.