An ischemic (say "iss-KEE-mick") stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. This means that blood cannot flow to some part of the brain. Without blood and the oxygen it carries, this part of the brain starts to die. The part of the body controlled by the damaged area of the brain cannot work properly.
This is different from a hemorrhagic (say "heh-muh-RA-jick") stroke, which happens when a blood vessel in the brain has burst open or has started to leak.
The brain damage from a stroke starts within minutes. Quick treatment can help limit damage to the brain and make recovery more likely.
People who have had a stroke may have a hard time talking, understanding things, and making decisions. They may have to relearn daily activities, such as how to eat, bathe, and dress. How well someone recovers from a stroke depends on how quickly the person gets to the hospital, where in the brain the stroke happened, and how severe it was. Training and therapy also make a difference in how well people recover.
If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 or other 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.
An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks blood flow in the brain. The most common causes of blood clots include:
You may have to take several medicines, depending on what caused your stroke.
Ask your doctor if a stroke rehab program is right for you. Rehab increases your chances of getting back some of the abilities you lost.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: March 20, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology & Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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