Understanding Strokes

What are the causes of strokes?

Strokes are caused by clots in a blood vessel in the brain. Many clots are the result of a disease of the heart. As people get older many develop what is called an arrhythmia of the heart, which causes the heart rate to not be normal and form clots inside the chambers. Clots caused by high cholesterol is also a major cause of strokes. However, the smaller blood vessels of the brain can be blocked by other factors that are caused by high blood pressure and diabetes.

How common are strokes in adults?

Strokes are very common in adults and as we age the incidents of strokes increases dramatically. As I said, most strokes are caused by clots in the brain, however a slow closure of a blood vessel caused by disease can also cause a stroke.

Can children have strokes?

Yes, it tends to happen during birth or in the first few years of their life. It is generally caused by heart damage that they are born with or heart disease that they develop. They are not common.

Can stroke-causing clots dissolve on their own?

Yes, they can. But, while they are dissolving they can still be partially blocking a blood vessel.

What are the signs or symptoms of a stroke?

There are some very common signs of stroke. They include, weakness on one side, or numbness, difficulty in understanding what someone is saying to you, especially in comprehension, or the actual production of speaking, also having difficulty in coordination, the inability to control your limbs, which includes a sudden inability to walk, which may include an intense feeling of dizziness, are all common signs. These signs come on abruptly.

What are the common after effects of a stroke?

Some of the more obvious effects are a continuance of the symptoms, such as difficulty with language, weakness on one side and drooping of the face.

However, there are some subtle effects that are just as important. They include, serious fatigue and uncontrolled depression. All of these can be caused by actual damage to the brain.

How are stroke after effects treated?

They are treated through therapy, either physical or psychological, including speech therapy. The main focus is on regaining independence for the patient.

What are some preventable risk-factors for stroke that we can control?

Prevent or control high-cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure through diet. Healthy eating is one of the most important things that we can do to help prevent strokes. Also we should avoid becoming overweight and cut out tobacco use.

Are there risk factors that we cannot control?

Yes there are three. The first is race, African American males have a higher risk factor than others. The second is gender, males in general have a higher risk factor than females, however when women do have strokes they are more likely to die from them than males. The last is age, the natural process of the aging process increases the potential for a stroke.