A stroke is a potentially fatal event that occurs when an arterial blockage interrupts circulation to your brain. Without any oxygen or nutrients, the affected brain cells die off within minutes. At CardioHealth in Jacksonville, Florida, board-certified cardiologist Ramon Castello MD, FACC, FASE specializes in evaluating patients who’ve suffered a stroke as well as preventing recurrent strokes. To learn more, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Although all strokes interrupt the blood supply to part of your brain, not all strokes occur in the same way. The three primary strokes are:
Four in five stroke patients have an ischemic stroke or one that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery.
A thrombotic ischemic stroke happens when a blood clot forms within one of the arteries that supply your brain with oxygen-rich blood, while an embolic ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot that formed elsewhere moves through your bloodstream and gets lodged in a brain artery.
This type of stroke occurs when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or bursts. Hemorrhagic strokes have few possible causes but are primarily due to either poorly controlled high blood pressure or weak blood vessel walls (aneurysms).
Besides ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes, you might also suffer a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA occurs when a clot temporarily decreases the flow of blood to part of your brain. Although TIA symptoms are similar to those of a full-blown stroke, they usually subside within a short amount of time (less than 24 hours).
Having a TIA increases your risk of having a stroke later. In fact, one in three patients suffers a full stroke within a month after having a TIA.
If you notice any of the following signs of a stroke, either in yourself or someone else, seeking immediate emergency treatment is critical. Prompt care can not only be life-saving, but it can minimize brain tissue damage and potential post-stroke complications.
Common stroke symptoms include:
Several factors can increase your risk of having a stroke, but poor blood pressure control is the most critical one: It’s responsible for more than 70% of strokes.
Unhealthy cholesterol levels also increase your stroke risk, as does having diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and cardiovascular disease.
One of the most common underlying causes of a stroke is carotid artery disease. It occurs when the carotid arteries that supply your head and brain with blood get narrowed due to fatty plaque.
Plaque buildup in your carotid arteries may reduce blood flow to your brain, or it may cause small clots to form, break off, and travel to your brain, resulting in a minor or major stroke.
Carotid artery disease is responsible for approximately one-third of all strokes that occur in the United States each year.
Knowing your risk factors enables you to take appropriate steps to decrease your chances of having a stroke. In many cases, this means making healthy lifestyle changes and adopting many of the same strategies that are used to prevent or control heart disease.
This may mean getting your blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control, maintaining a healthy body weight, or maintaining healthy blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
If you’ve had a stroke or TIA, Dr. Castello will look for potential causes of stroke, such as carotid stenosis or cardiac sources of traveling clots. The latter may include monitoring for atrial fibrillation or performing a special ultrasound test (TEE) that's done in a hospital.
Dr. Castello also provides interventional treatment solutions to prevent recurrent strokes. These treatments are performed in a hospital in collaboration with interventional cardiologists. Examples include carotid stents or closing small holes in the heart (PFO).
To find out more about stroke treatment or prevention, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.