An ischemic stroke is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain; the main reasons for this are blood clots or fatty deposits building up in the arteries around the head and neck. This type of stroke accounts for around 85% of all strokes.
There are 3 different types of ischemic stroke:
- Thrombotic: This is caused by a blood clot (thrombus) in an artery going to the brain. The clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain. Blood clots may form in arteries damaged by arteriosclerosis. This type of stroke accounts for around 60% of all strokes.
- Embolic: This type of stroke accounts for about 20% of all strokes. It is caused by a clot that formed somewhere else in the body and travelled to clog a vessel in or leading to the brain.
- Lacunar: a blockage in the tiny blood vessels deep within the brain.
Limitations after an Ischemic stroke
As with any stroke, the damaged sustained varies from person to person and depending on how soon it’s detected. Everything can be affected from physical weakness to speech. The list below outlines some of the limitations you could expect see in someone who has had a stroke:
- Weakness or paralysis, usually on one side of the body, conditions such as foot drop
- Difficulty swallowing
- Extreme tiredness
- Problems with speech, reading and writing
- Problems with vision - such as double vision, or partial blindness
- Memory and concentration difficulties
- Difficulty in controlling your bladder and bowel movements (incontinence)
- Anxiety and depression
A well recommended and recognised way of identifying if someone is having a stroke is to use the F.A.S.T (face-arms-speech) test. The F.A.S.T technique has been, and still is, being promoted through all forms of the media. The Department of Health have been running a 3 year campaign to help promote the awareness of stroke.
Treatments for a Ischemic stroke
In the case of an ischemic stroke, a drug called Alteplase can administered via a drip in the arm. This drug works by dissolving the blood clot and restoring a steady flow of blood to the brain. However, this drug is really only effective if it’s administered during the first three hours after the stroke has taken place otherwise the medication has no beneficial effects. Aspirin is usually prescribed to the person for up to 2 weeks after the stroke to help stop the blood from clotting, therefore reducing the chance of a second stroke. Other medication may be given, if required to control blood pressure and cholesterol.
If fatty deposits have built up in the artery, a carotid endarterectomy (CEA) may be required; this procedure involves the fatty deposit to be surgically removed from the artery to allow free movement of blood from body to brain. This procedure is not suitable for everyone and if advised by a doctor is usually undertaken 2 weeks after the stroke.
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* The information on this page has been compiled from various sources. It does not cover all physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read on this page.