Types of Stroke

How Strokes Occur

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted in some way. As a result, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and other nutrients which they need.
Some brain cells become damaged and some die.

Most strokes occur when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries which carries blood to the brain. This type of stroke is referred to as ischaemic strokes.

However, some strokes are caused by bleeding within or around the brain by a burst blood vessel and they are referred to as haemorrhagic strokes.

Ischaemic Strokes

There are a number of different ways in which an ischaemic stroke can occur, these are :-

Cerebral Thrombosis - A blood clot known as a "thrombus" forms in an artery which supplies blood to the brain and blocks the flow of blood. A thrombus often forms where there is a damaged spot on the artery wall. The thrombus is more likely to block the flow if the lining of the artery has become furred up by fatty deposits over the years. Furring up ius known as "atherosclerosis".

Cerebral Embolism - A stroke caused by an "embolus". An embolus is a clot which is formed elsewhere in the body and then travels through the blood vessels to the brain where it blocks an artery. An embolus can form in the heart following a heart attack or if there is another heart problem such as abnorml rhythm or faulty valve.

Lacunar Stroke - Occurs because the small blood vessels deep in the brain become blocked up as a result of damage over time.

Haemorrhagic Strokes

There are two main types of haemorrhagic stroke and these are:-

Inter- crebal Haemorrhage - A stroke caused by bleeding within the brain itself.

Subarachnoid Haemorrhage - A stroke caused by bleeding in the subarachnoid space which surrounds the brain.

Effects of a Stroke

It should be noted that no two strokes are the same even if they are the same type of stroke. Every stroke has different consequences that will depend on a combination of the following:-

        Where the stroke took plave within the brain.
        
        Whether it was mild or severe.

        Age and general health of the person concerned.

There are many different effects of a stroke and only some may be experienced. A doctor should be consulted for any symptoms that are puzzling, however the most common symptoms of a stroke are as follows:-

        A numbness, weakness or paralysis down one side. This may affect an arm, leg, one side of the face or the whole one side of the body.

        Problems in communicating. This can be because of lack of or altered speech, or it can be because of difficulties in understanding what is being said. Difficulties in reading or writing are also common.
        
        Swallowing difficulties.

There are also other effects which can occur and these are:-
        
        Disturbed vision.

        Incontinence.

        Tiredness and problems in remembering or concentrating.

        Loss of awareness of the affected limbs. Most common in strokes that have affected the left side of the body.

Recovery

The extent to which people recover from strokes and the time taken, vary greatly and it is unlikely that a doctor will be able to predict the extent or speed of recovery in the period immediately following a stroke.
Although it varies, most recovery from a stroke is likely to take place in the first 18 months. Improvemnets after this time are usually because the patient has managed to find new ways of managing their limitations.

General Tips

Have adequate rest, it is normal to feel tired in the months following a stroke.

Take each day as it comes, set yourself small and realistic goals to work towards.

Do things at your own speed, time limits will increase frustration.

Keep to a regular routine and look for ways in which to revive old interests or take up new ones to give yourself motivation.





The Stroke Club meets every 2nd and 4th Monday of each month

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