During an ischemic stroke, the blood flow to a portion of the brain is obstructed by a blood clot, or thrombus. If urgent care is not sought right away, irreversible damage can occur to the brain tissue as a result of oxygen deprivation. The best way to avoid the serious health complications of a stroke is to know the symptoms and act fast in seeking care. The symptoms of a stroke often include:
- Sudden and severe headache that feels like the worst headache of your life
- Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body
- Sudden vision changes, such as trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden lack of coordination or difficulty walking
When experiencing a full-blown stroke, patients will experience these symptoms very suddenly and they will often progressively increase in their severity. In some cases, however, the warning signs of a stroke can occur and resolve in a few minutes or hours. This “mini-stroke” is known as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. Although these attacks do not generally cause permanent brain damage, TIAs can be a serious warning sign of a future stroke—according to the National Stroke Association, 40 percent of TIA sufferers continue on to experience a full-blown ischemic stroke.
The factors leading to TIA are similar to those that cause ischemic stroke. Fatty plaques can build up in the arteries of the brain, narrowing the vessels and increasing the risk of a blockage from a blood clot. With TIA, these obstructions are quickly dislodged and do not permanently or completely disrupt the blood flow to the brain.
According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. May is American Stroke Month—increase your awareness of this deadly event and improve your health today. For more information about TIA and the warning signs of a stroke, contact Regional Medical Center of San Jose at (888) 762-8881.