Stroke is an abrupt interruption of constant blood flow to the brain that causes loss of neurological function. The interruption of blood flow can be caused by a blockage, or by bleeding in the brain.
A stroke is usually categorized as one of two types:
The effects of a stroke, including the severity of those effects, depend on where in the brain it has occurred and the extent of the damage.
Since brain cells require a constant supply of oxygen to stay healthy and function properly, blood needs to be supplied continuously to the brain through two main arterial systems:
Blockage of blood flow to the brain for even a short period of time can be disastrous and cause brain damage or even death.
In some cases, patients may experience a “warning stroke” or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). A TIA occurs when blood flow to a certain area of the brain briefly stops. The person has the same signs of a stroke, but the signs go away completely. The difference between a stroke and a TIA is that the TIA is a warning sign. It does not result in permanent damage and because of that, it cannot be seen on a CT scan or an MRI scan.
Each year, 55,000 more women have strokes than men, according to the National Stroke Association. This is mainly because women live longer than men, in general, and the risk for stroke increases with age. However, most women don’t know their risk of having a stroke. But there’s some good news: Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented. This means it’s important to know your risk of having a stroke and to take action to reduce that risk.
Watch Dr. Igwe tell her personal story about the warning signs and surviving a stroke.