What is stroke?
Stroke is a sudden interruption of the blood supply to a part of the brain due to a obstruction or hemorrhage. The lack of blood - and therefore oxygen - quickly causes irreversible damage to brain tissue, affecting essential abilities such as moving, seeing, remembering, reasoning...
There are two main types of stroke:
(80% of cases)
They occur when a clot blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. These blood clots typically form in areas where the arteries have been narrowed or blocked over time by fatty deposits known as plaques. This process is known as atherosclerosis. In addition to age, the main risk factors are diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.
(20% of cases)
They occur when a blood vessel bursts inside the skull, bleeds and compresses the brain. The main cause of haemorrhagic stroke is high blood pressure. The main risk factors are overweight, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.
Time is Brain
When a stroke occurs, the patient loses
2 million neurons per minute! Significant progress has been made in recent years with thrombolysis and, more recently, thrombectomy. The latter technique doubles the chances of avoiding serious after-effects after an ischemic stroke related to the obstruction of a large artery. But to be effective, these medical actions must be carried out as soon as possible.
Here is a touching illustration from the UK's national health agency:
How to recognize a stroke?
Weakness on one side of the body (arm/leg)
In case of sudden appearance of one of these 3 signs, call
Stroke and heart attack
A stroke is basically a brain attack; it is the equivalent of a heart attack, with the affected organ being the brain and not the heart. However, during a heart attack, the subject suffers atrociously; this is not the case during a stroke: the patient often does not perceive that it is a vital emergency, with the obvious risk of delaying the management.