By Jonathon Hardcastle
Hopefully you never had to endure a situation of someone close to you to suffer from transient ischemic attach (TIA), also known as mini stoke, or from a stroke. In any case, you should be familiar with both kinds of stroke as they both destroy brain tissue and can produce similar long-term effects. But there are important differences in what causes them and in the symptoms that tell you which kind of stroke is happening.
According to statistics, 80 percent of strokes belong to the ischemic stroke kind. These mini-strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked by plaque-clogged arteries or by blood clots. This means that blood is not circulating properly inside the brain causing brain cells to die if even for a few minutes no oxygen is transmitted to them via the blood.
– Symptoms: Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; difficulty speaking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; dizziness and a sudden loss of balance; falling in and out of consciousness; chest pain and shortness of breath. These last three symptoms are less-brain-centered and are more commonly experienced by women.
These brain hemorrhages happen when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the surrounding tissue. There are various causes of these bursts. The most frequent is the rupture of an aneurysm, a weak spot on the wall of an artery that happens to be in your brain-aneurysms can occur elsewhere in the body, too. Experts point out that women are twice as likely as men to have an aneurysm in the brain and are more likely to have multiple aneurysms than men. Two other causes for bleeding in the brain are: hypertension, which can create enough pressure to break an artery wall, and arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in the brain. This is a snarl of defective blood vessels and capillaries whose thin walls are prone to rupture.
– Symptoms: A sudden violent headache, as if cracking a fault like through the brain’s delicate architecture. The patient may also suffer from blurred vision or nausea.
If you ever suspect you might be having a TIA or stroke or believe you are witnessing someone else having one, make sure 911 (or your local emergency unit) be called immediately. Tell the dispatcher that, if possible, you want to be transported to a hospital with a stroke center. Do not attempt to drive to the emergency room yourself. Stroke patients who arrive at the hospital by ambulance are evaluated sooner by an ER physician, get the necessary testing and are admitted to the hospital or intensive-care unit more frequently than those who arrive by taxi or car. Most importantly, bring someone prepared to advocate for you or the patient. Be prepared by being informed and act fast!
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