Stroke and Aneurysms
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or bursts. A stroke is one of the leading causes of serious, long-term disability.
Types of Stroke
There are two types of strokes: hemorrhagic or ischemic.
- A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when the brain arteries rupture
- An ischemic stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off
What is a Brain Aneurysm?
A brain aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel in the brain. An aneurysm can leak or rupture, causing bleeding into the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). A ruptured aneurysm can become life-threatening and will require quick medical treatment. However, most brain aneurysms don’t rupture, create health problems or cause symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms
When it comes to strokes, time is brain. This is why it is crucial to recognize the signs of a stroke and get to the nearest hospital for evaluation and treatment as soon as possible. If you experience any of the stroke signs, act F-A-S-T and dial 9-1-1. Use the National Stroke Association’s F-A-S-T test to remember warning signs that assesses three specific symptoms of a stroke:
- Facial weakness – can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
- Arm weakness – can the person raise both arms?
- Speech problems – can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
- Time to call 911
The different types of stroke determines on the kind of treatment you will receive. Ischemic stroke is the most common type and is treated by busting or removing the clot. There are two ways to remove or bust the clot, medically or mechanically. Tissue plasminogen activator, tPA, is given within three to 4.5 hours to eligible patients. The other way is the physical removal of the clot, an endovascular procedure. The doctor will put a catheter through an artery in the groin up to the blocked artery in the brain. Allowing the doctor to grab the clot with the stent and remove it.
Hemorrhagic strokes happen as a result of a rupture and the goal is to stop bleeding. A catheter can sometimes be threaded up through a major artery in the arm or leg to the brain tissue. Once the catheter is at the source, it deposits a mechanical agent, like a coil, to prevent further ruptures.
Interesting Stroke Facts
According to the American Stroke Association:
- Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US
- 80% of strokes in adults are preventable
- About 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year
- Stroke kills more than 137,000 people a year, that’s almost 1 out of every 18 deaths
- 60% of stroke deaths occur in females and 40% are in males