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Stroke Test, Cause, Symptoms, and Treatment

stroke cause picture

Stroke Cause

Blood clots and burst blood vessels stop blood flow to your brain. The brain like every other part of your body needs blood to survive. Blood brings food and oxygen to brain cells which they need to work. When a stroke clot forms in your brain blow flow is choked like an accident on a highway stopping other cars getting past. This robs brain tissue downstream killing those dependant neurons and whatever processing was being done there is lost. e.g. if an area that moves your left arm gets stroked and dies you won't be able to move your left arm anymore. Stroke bleeds into the brain also stop blood flow as they both clot and swell preventing blood flow and causing a stroke.

Stroke Test Symptoms

There are 3 easy tests to look for to tell if a person is having a stroke:

1. A twisted face or drooping on one side of the face.

2. Slurred speech.

3. Ask the person to stretch out their arms and close their eyes. One side will drift down.

If you find any one of these symptoms in a person that never had it before, the chance that they've had a stroke is about 70%!

stroke symptoms cartoon

Stroke Treatment

Full recovery from a stroke is best the earlier you get to a hospital for treatment!

Treatment for strokes from clots to the brain is different from strokes caused by bleeding into the brain. And 8 out of every 10 strokes are caused by clots.

The recommended treatment for clot strokes if you arrive to a hospital within three hours after the start of your symptoms is clot busting drugs given IV. Think of it like unblocking your kitchen sink with Draino. This allows oxygen rich blood to get back into the area and save any brain cells that did not die.

For small clot bleeds, they are often watched and allowed to heal on their own. If getting worse, surgery is done to 'decompress' the brain - the free blood takes up space in your brain squeezing it against the skull.

When you first arrive at a hospital the first thing your doctor does is listen to a description from you of what happened, and then examines you to see if s/he can pick up the signs of a stroke. If it seems likely that you've suffered a stroke then you're sent for a picture test of the brain called a CAT scan. This test lets your doctor know if you've had a clot or bleeding stroke and plan appropriate care for you - clot busting drugs will make a bleed worse but improve a clot.

You will spend some time in hospital until stable before discharge.

After the hospital, your next stop will be a visit to a physiotherapist. Here you will get exercises and other help to recover your ability to speak, move around, and help yourself. Strokes leave affected arms so stiff that they can get permanently fixed bent at the elbow without physiotherapy - known as a contracture - and walking clumsy as the

Mini Stroke

mini stroke picture

Very often just before a major stroke there are warning signs like rumblings before an earthquake. The symptoms are exactly the same as for a full stroke but they last for less than 24 hours. For example, sudden weakness of an arm that lasts for less than a day and magically clears up. These warning signals are not to be ignored. You need to seek medical attention immediately because timely therapy can prevent a full blown stroke!

Mini strokes are called Transient Ischemic Attacks in medical speak. It means that you have suffered a temporary loss of blood flow to a part of brain. Without treatment of the root cause you're at risk for 'the big one' that is mini strokeand go get help.

Stroke Prevention

Strokes don't have to happen! Strokes can be prevented by avoiding things which cause them, known as 'Risk Factors'

stroke prevention picture

Risk Factors for Stroke

  • Smoking

  • High cholesterol

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure.

  • Obesity

You can see clearly that nearly all strokes can be prevented but needs your cooperation. A tablet or two a day, a low fat diet, regular exercise and throwing away your cigarettes is a small price to pay for a feeling of well being and the freedom to use all of your body.

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    Last Updated:
    April 22 2016
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