What Is A Stroke?
Aphasia is a general term used to describe difficulties often seen after a stroke. It refers to the loss or reduction of communication skills. Generally aphasia is specified as being receptive or receptive aphasia. Receptive aphasia refers to a person’s ability to understand what is being said as well as one’s ability to understand what is read. Expressive aphasia refers to a person’s ability to use language to communicate by speaking or by writing. This is a very general and simplified explanation, and following a stroke or related brain injury, one or more symptoms may be present.
A stroke can affect one or both sides of the brain. The brain is divided into the right and left hemispheres (sides) each of which controls the opposite side of the body. Each hemisphere has specific functions but they also work together. The left hemisphere controls the speech and language areas including understanding, reading, writing, using numbers and recalling words. The right hemisphere controls visual, spatial and perceptual areas reasoning and judgment, behavioral and emotional areas. Behavioral and emotional issues may include impulsiveness or initiation, recognizing one’s limitations, or overall memory.
What causes A Stroke?
Ischemic strokes are ultimately caused by a thrombus or embolus that blocks blood flow to the brain. Blood clots (thrombus clots) usually occur in areas of the arteries that have been damaged by atherosclerosis from a buildup of plaques. Embolus type blood clots are often caused by atrial fibrillation – an irregular pattern of heart beat that leads to blood clot formation and poor blood flow.
Hemorrhage strokes can be caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, a head injury, or aneurysms. High blood pressure is the most common cause of cerebral hemorrhage, as it causes small arteries inside the brain to burst. This deprives brain cells of blood and dangerously increases pressure on the brain.
Aneurysms – abnormal blood-filled pouches that balloon out from weak spots in the wall of an artery – are the most common cause of subarachnoid hemorrhage. If an aneurysm ruptures, blood spills into the space between the surfaces of the brain and skull, and blood vessels in the brain may spasm. Aneurysms are often caused or made worse by high blood pressure.
What Are The Symptoms of A Stroke?
Within a few minutes of having a stroke, brain cells begin to die and symptoms can become present. It is important to recognize symptoms, as prompt treatment is crucial to recovery. Common symptoms include:
- Dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance and coordination
- Speech problems
- Numbness, weakness, or paralysis on one side of the body
- Blurred, blackened, or double vision
- Sudden severe headache
Smaller strokes (or silent strokes), however, may not cause any symptoms, but can still damage brain tissue. A possible signthat a stroke is about to occur is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) – a temporary interruption in blood flow to part of the brain. Symptoms of TIA are similar to stroke but last for a shorter time period and do not leave noticeable permanent damage.
If you or a loved one had a stroke –>(Eng)