What is a stroke

Strokes are one of the most serious problems in modern medicine because at the same time they are one of the most common causes of death and one of the main causes of disability. What is a stroke?

What is a stroke?

Stroke is a syndrome of more or less severe symptoms of brain damage, which may be based on cerebral hemorrhage, or a blood clot or embolism that supplies blood to the brain. 

Strokes (interchangeably, though not quite correctly, called strokes), depending on the cause of their occurrence, are divided into hemorrhagic (and only in this situation we should talk about stroke) and ischemic. As an indication, 80-85% of strokes are ischemic, and 15-20% are hemorrhagic strokes.

stroke sympthoms

Stroke classification

Ischemic stroke

This stroke is caused by a vessel closure that carries blood to a specific area of ​​the brain (it affects 80% of all strokes). The most common cause is arteriosclerosis or closure of the artery (Fig. 1), which gradually increases and narrows the lumen of the artery until it finally closes, usually due to a blood clot at the site of the narrowing. Another reason for the closure of the artery is its embolism, i.e. blockage by a thrombus formed in the heart (e.g. during atrial fibrillation or on the surface of artificial heart valves due to ineffective anticoagulation) or a detached fragment of the atherosclerotic plaque (e.g. in the carotid arteries).

Hemorrhagic stroke

Such stroke (the remaining 20% ​​of strokes) is caused by hemorrhage, i.e. a sudden stroke of blood from a broken vessel that destroys brain weaving. Hemorrhagic strokes are divided into: intracerebral hemorrhage (the damaged vessel is located inside the brain) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding into the subarachnoid space, which is located between the arachnoid and soft brain tire).

The most common cause of hemorrhage is long-term, poorly controlled hypertension, which causes the formation of so-called micro aneurysms whose walls are prone to rupture. Another cause of hemorrhage may be aneurysms resulting from a congenital vascular wall defect.

Risk factors

The most important risk factors of stroke that we have influence on and which, if possible, should be eliminated from our lives include:
• hypertension,
• heart diseases,
• diabetes
• nicotinism, alcoholism, drug addiction,
• obesity
• hypercholesterolemia,
• low physical activity,
• improper diet,
• increased hematocrit
• adverse impact of the social environment and lifestyle.

Symptoms of stroke

Stroke symptoms primarily depend on the location of the lesion site. The most common are:

  • weakness in the muscles of the limb (paresis or paralysis),
  • sudden drop of the corner of the mouth
  • numbness in one half of the body
  • visual disturbance: hemopticopia, vision, speech disorders, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, difficulty maintaining balance, severe headache, unconsciousness.

Stroke is a life threatening condition. A patient with symptoms of stroke should be transported to the hospital as soon as possible, where he will be diagnosed and appropriate treatment will be initiated.

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