The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It is made of a left and a right hemisphere. In most people, the left hemisphere is in charge of the functions on the right-side of the body. It is also involved in abilities such as the ability to speak, or use language.
A left-side stroke happens when the blood supply to the left side of the brain is interrupted. Without oxygen and nutrients from blood, the brain tissue quickly dies.
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There are two main types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke.
An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage of the blood flow, which may be due to:
A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a burst blood vessel. Blood spills out of the broken blood vessel and pools in the brain. This interrupts the flow of blood and causes a build up of pressure on the brain.
Hemorrhagic vs. Ischemic Stroke
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Certain factors increase your risk of stroke but can not be changed, such as:
Other factors that may increase your risk can be changed such as:
Certain medical condition that can increase your risk of stroke. Management or prevention of these conditions can significantly decrease your risk. Medical conditions include:
Risk factors specific to women include:
Symptoms occur suddenly. Exact symptoms will depend on the part of the brain affected. Rapid treatment is important to decrease the amount of brain damage. Brain tissue without blood flow dies quickly.
Call for emergency medical help right away if you notice any of the following:
If you or someone you know has any of these symptoms, call for emergency medical services right away. Brain tissue without blood flow dies quickly. Early care can decrease damage.
Longer-lasting effects of the stroke may include problems with:
A physical exam will be done to look for muscle weakness, visual and speech problems, and movement difficulty. If possible, you will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor may use a or of the brain to confirm a stroke or rule out other conditions.
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
Blood tests can also help determine if there is a bleeding problem.
Immediate treatment is needed to:
Oxygen therapy may be needed.
For an ischemic stroke, medication may be given to:
For a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor may give medication to:
For an ischemic stroke, procedures may be done to:
For a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor may:
A rehabilitation program focuses on:
Many of the risk factors for stroke can be changed. Lifestyle changes that can help reduce your chance of getting a stroke include:
American Heart Association
National Stroke Association
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Furie KL, Kasner SE, Adams RJ, et al. Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2010 October 21.
Hemorrhagic stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke/hemorrhagic-stroke. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Hemorrhagic strokes (bleeds). American Heart Association American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/HemorrhagicBleeds/Hemorrhagic-Strokes-Bleeds_UCM_310940_Article.jsp. Updated September 16, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Intracerebral hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 6, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Ischemic strokes (clots). American Heart Association American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/IschemicClots/Ischemic-Strokes-Clots_UCM_310939_Article.jsp. Updated August 29, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
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Recognizing stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SYMP. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Stroke (acute management). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 17, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 28, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
2/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/: Bushnell C, et al. AHA/ASA Guideline for the Prevention of Stroke in Women. Stroke. 2014 Feb 6. [Epub ahead of print]
6/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Myint PK, Cleark AB, et al. Bone mineral density and incidence of stroke: European prospective investigation into cancer-norfolk population-based study, systemic review, and meta-analysis. Stroke. 2014 Feb;45(2):373-82.
6/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Imfeld P, Bodmer M, et al. Risk of incident stroke in patients with Alzheimer disease or vascular dementia. Neurology. 2013 Sep 3;81(10):910-919.
Last reviewed November 2014 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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