What causes a stroke?

‘Time is Brain’ when it comes to treatment and brain health after a stroke. Think of a stroke as a brain attack. The patient either has a clot or a bleeding blood vessel in the brain. And the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen. Without oxygen brain cells start to die within minutes. And once they’re dead they can’t be replaced. And since the brain controls the rest of the body the result, if left untreated, could be death, permanent brain damage and disability. Fast treatment can minimize the damage

Ischemic stroke occurs when fatty deposits build up inside a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain and cause a blockage.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel leaks or ruptures, and the leaked blood compresses and damages brain cells.


Symptoms of Stroke

Stroke symptoms often occur suddenly including:

  • Numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • A person might have trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • They might have trouble walking, become dizzy or lose their balance.
  • And some patients say they have a severe headache that hits like a clap of thunder – the worst headache they’ve had in their life.


Stroke Treatment

Treatment for stroke depends on the type of stroke. For a ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot we use a drug called tPA. That stands for tissue plasminogen activator. It dissolves the blood clots that cause stroke. That dramatically reduces the amount of damage caused by stroke when not treated or when treatment is delayed. The sooner these drugs are given the less damage to the brain and the body and less disability to the patient.


For a hemorrhagic stroke caused by a ruptured or bleeding vessel, the immediate concern is controlling the bleeding and reducing pressure in the brain. If you take blood thinners you might be given drugs to counteract those blood thinners. You may also be given medicine to lower pressure in your brain as well as your blood pressure and to prevent seizures.


When the bleeding stops the blood will eventually absorb into your body in the same way that a bad bruise heals. But if there is a large amount of blood you might have surgery to relieve the pressure on your brain. There are several types of surgeries. They are aimed at correcting any problems, like a malformed vein or an aneurysm that might have caused the blood vessel to break.


Tiny clamps are used to stop blood flow and to keep an aneurysm from bursting. Also small coils are used to block blood flow to an aneurysm and cause the blood to clot. In a few cases we can perform bypass surgery on a blood vessel in the brain to direct blood to a region of the brain. It’s the same type of surgery that is used in heart bypass surgery – just on the brain.


    To Make a Referral Call 501.552.6412. For Emergencies, call our 24/7 access phone at 501.552.2727.