The human body is an incredible complex machine, but its complexity also makes it vulnerable to damage. Among them, stroke, or stroke, one of the leading causes of death and disability in the world.
Two types of stroke
A stroke (or “stroke”) is a sudden loss of one or more functions of the brain. It can be caused when blood cannot reach part of the brain properly. We speak then ischemic stroke.
An example would be blockage of blood vessels, usually due to the presence of a clot, but not necessarily. As a result, the blood supply is cut off, which means that neurons do not receive nutrients or oxygen. The affected areas of the brain then cease to function, leading to loss of control over parts of the body or the processes governed by those areas.
A stroke can also occur after an intracerebral hemorrhage. We then speak of hemorrhagic stroke. It may be bleeding in or around the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage) as a result of a ruptured blood vessel.
Note that transient ischemic attacks or TIA can also occur. The latter are the result of a transient arterial obstruction that does not cause brain damage. AIT, which can unfortunately go unnoticed by being mistaken for a simple malaise, is on the other hand considered as a real alarm signal multiplying the risk of more serious stroke in the following days.
Still, unless treated quickly, all of these strokes can lead to permanent damage to affected areas, including tissue death.
What are the warning signs?
– Face: watch for irregularities in facial muscle movements. A droopy face or a drooping smile can be a sign that something is wrong with the brain.
– Arms : ask the person in question to raise both arms. As strokes affect brain activity, certain muscle groups may be affected. If one or both of the affected individual’s arms move against their will, then this is a possible sign of stroke.
– Conditional liberation: Threatened brain activity can lead to disorderly speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. If she is unable to do so, it is probably a stroke.
Finally, note that cerebrovascular accidents are sometimes accompanied by headaches, nausea, vomiting, in particular for hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accidents.
A quick response can save a life
If a person has one, more or all of these symptoms, immediately call the emergency services (SAMU, 15). Once the symptoms have set in, doctors have a window of about three to four and a half hours to step in and try to solve the problem.
An “on time” response will then prevent significant damage (but not all damage). Typically, strokes cause lasting brain damage that can seriously affect a person’s ability to function. These effects can be (relatively) mild, such as general numbness in an area, or quite severe, such as loss of the ability to speak or walk.
On the treatment side, doctors can administer anticoagulant drugs (thrombolytics) in the case of ischemic stroke. In severe cases, doctors may also attempt a mechanical thrombectomy. This is a direct procedure to remove the blood clot from the vessel it is stuck in. However, this procedure is not available in all care units, as it requires specialized equipment.
Giving someone with a hemorrhagic stroke anti-coagulation medication, however, is a sure-fire way to kill them. For such strokes, therefore, blood transfusions are used to stabilize the patient. If necessary, doctors will also remove some of the fluid buildup so that the pressure on the rest of the brain is reduced.
The main risk factors
– age : The risk of stroke naturally increases with age.
– Heredity : The risk of stroke or TIA is higher if a parent has had a stroke before the age of 65.
– Antecedents : About 30% of people who have had a stroke or TIA will indeed experience another stroke within five years.
Finally, people with high blood pressure or cholesterol, those suffering from diabetes and the smokers are particularly at risk of developing a stroke. People who have heart rhythm disturbances underlying are also at risk, especially those suffering from atrial fibrillation.
To avoid as much risk as possible, favor live an active lifestyle, eat a healthy diet where possible, do not smoke, and monitor your blood pressure.