Occasionally, cholesterol plaque in the coronary artery can rupture and clots forming at the site can block the coronary artery completely. This results in oxygen deprivation in the related heart muscle and death of the cells. This is called a Heart Attack and variable amount of heart muscle will die.
This requires an emergency admission into a hospital so that the blocked vessel can be opened as quickly as possible (using clot-busting drugs or Angioplasty with a balloon and stent) to minimise the size of the heart damage.
Brain damage can begin within minutes, so it is important to know the symptoms of stroke and act fast. Quick treatment can help limit damage to the brain and increase the chance of a full recovery.
What are the symptoms?
- Symptoms of a stroke happen quickly. A stroke may cause:
- Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
- Sudden vision changes.
- Sudden trouble speaking.
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
- Sudden problems with walking or balance.
- A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.
- If you have any of these symptoms, call emergency services right away.
See your doctor if you have symptoms that seem like a stroke, even if they go away quickly. You may have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a mini-stroke. A TIA is a warning that a stroke may happen soon. Getting early treatment for a TIA can help prevent a stroke.
What causes a stroke?
There are two types of stroke:
An ischemic camera stroke develops when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. The clot may form in the blood vessel or travel from somewhere else in the blood system. About 8 out of 10 strokes are ischemic (say “iss-KEE-mick”) strokes. They are the most common type of stroke in older adults.
A hemorrhagic camera stroke develops when an artery in the brain leaks or bursts. This causes bleeding inside the brain or near the surface of the brain. Hemorrhagic (say “heh-muh-RAH-jick”) strokes are less common but more deadly than ischemic strokes.
How is a stroke diagnosed?
You need to see a doctor right away. If a stroke is diagnosed quickly-right after symptoms start-doctors may be able to use medicines that can help you recover better.
The first thing the doctor needs to find out is what kind of stroke it is: ischemic or hemorrhagic. This is important because the medicine given to treat a stroke caused by a blood clot could be deadly if used for a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
To find out what kind of stroke it is, the doctor will do a type of X-ray called a CT scan of the brain, which can show if there is bleeding. The doctor may order other tests to find the location of the clot or bleeding, check for the amount of brain damage, and check for other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to a stroke.