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A stroke occurs when there is a disruption or reduction in the blood supply to an area of the brain. As a result, the cells in the brain are unable to get oxygen or nutrients causing the brain cells to die. The symptoms of a stroke are dependent on the area of the brain that is affected. Symptoms of a stroke include a sudden headache, blurry vision, dizziness, slurred speech, confusion, weakness, numbness, and facial droop. It is important to seek medical attention if you have symptoms of a stroke as soon as possible to prevent complications such as permanent disability.
People over the age of 60 years old are at an increased risk for developing a stroke. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and a family history of stroke. Lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity, being overweight or obese, alcohol abuse, smoking, and drug use.
There are two main causes of stroke.
Hemorrhagic strokes can be divided into categories based on the location of the stroke:
2. Ischemic strokes can be characterized in two ways.
Transient ischemic attack(TIA)- A transient ischemic attack is also known as a mini stroke. The condition is caused by a temporary reduction in blood flow to the brain, and does not cause permanent damage. It is characterized by temporary stroke-like symptoms such as numbness and weakness typically affecting one side of the body. Other symptoms associated with a TIA include blurry vision, temporary vision loss, slurred speech, confusion, and facial droop. A TIA is often related to a partial blockage and narrowing of the blood vessels, and increases a person’s risk of a more severe stroke in the future.
If you have had an TIA or ischemic stroke in the past, you may be prescribed an antiplatelet or anticoagulant medication to reduce the risk of a recurrent stroke.
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