Stroke: Definition, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Stroke is known by many other names: stroke, stroke, stroke, or cerebral infarction ; and is feared by anyone, regardless of how they are labeled.

The cause of this fear is that the effects of a stroke can be fatal for the person, ranging from the appearance of any type of disability to death. To give you an idea, strokes are the third cause of death in the western part of the world.

Hence, it is so extremely important to know what they consist of and what their first symptoms are, in order to avoid any major illness in the person.

what is a stroke? Definition

A stroke consists of interruption of blood flow to the brain due to a blocked or broken blood vessel This suspension of blood supply to the brain causes the neurons to not receive enough oxygen and begin to die.

If we take into account that the brain is responsible for the functioning of everything a person does: walk, think, speak, move, and even breathe, they can end up with some type of disability; causing permanent damage to the brain or even death if said stroke is not detected in time.

Two types of stroke can be differentiated:

1. Ischemic stroke

Due to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the arterial vessels that inject blood into the brain, preventing its passage. Other times, This pause in blood flow is caused by a blood clot that is larger than usual

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2. Hemorrhagic stroke

In this type of stroke The rupture of a blood vessel in the brain, and the subsequent spillage of blood through it, causes intracranial hemorrhage which can also affect the membranes that surround the brain and the meninges.

Causes and risk factors

There are three main reasons that cause a stroke:

1. Blockage of the arteries by a clot or hardening: prone to people with arteriosclerosis, diabetes, high cholesterol levels or hypertension.

2. Obstruction due to a cerebral embolism: in this type of accident a blood clot belonging to any area of ​​the body, travels through it until it encounters a narrow artery where it becomes stuck.

3. Intracranial hemorrhage caused by rupture rupture due to hardening or congestion of blood vessels, also called aneurysm, or due to hypertension.

Although many of these causes are associated with various diseases with a risk of stroke, there are risk factors, some of them avoidable, so an apparently healthy person can suffer any type of stroke.

Unalterable risk factors

These risk factors are impossible for the person to control or modify. These are:

Controllable risk factors

However, there are other elements that also influence when suffering a cardiovascular incident but that can be modified or mastered:


The bad reputation and fear of strokes comes, in addition to the consequences that it can have, because in many cases the symptoms appear suddenly, the person not realizing any of them and therefore not realizing them. You realize you are having a stroke.

Symptoms that usually warn of a stroke are:

FAST Stroke Test

However, there is a protocol for rapid detection of a stroke. This protocol called FAST (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) is vital to the possibility of detecting a spill and saving a life, with only the appearance of one of them being cause for alarm.

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The test consists of observing a series of milestones:

1. Expensive: If the person can only move one side of the face, it is a sign of stroke. To do this, the person is asked to smile and it is observed whether both sides are the same or not.

2. Arms: The person is asked to raise their arms, in the case of only being able to lift one, or feeling difficulties in the other, this is another sign.

3. Speaks: Asking the person to say their first and last name, their address or simply to repeat a phrase, if they do not coordinate the words or do so very slowly, it is considered an indication of a stroke.

4. Time: Whether you meet all three signs or only one, it is vitally important to contact emergency services to intervene as soon as possible, since after the first hour from the appearance of symptoms the damage may be irreversible.


For a correct diagnosis of stroke It is necessary to both identify what type of spill it is, as well as determine the location and cause.

As a first step in identifying the type of stroke, clinicians may use a computed axial tomography (CT) scan of the head or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Next, there are different tests and techniques to obtain the rest of the information about the spill. For example:


As mentioned above, a stroke requires emergency treatment, which can reduce the probability of disability and even save the patient’s life.

The choice of treatment will depend on the type of stroke, but in any case the priority is to restore blood flow when it is an ischemic stroke, and reduce brain pressure if it is hemorrhagic.

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In the event that the cause of the stroke is a blood clot, and this is detected during the first hours after the stroke begins, the patient is administered a clot-reducing drug, which will dilute the clot and boost the flow of blood. blood in the injured area.

In addition to this emergency treatment, There are two more types of treatment to contain the effects of strokes:

1. Intracranial vascular systems

Endovascular interventions are used to increase blood flow in veins and arteries of the brain. This treatment consists of introducing a catheter along the blood vessels until it reaches the brain. Once there, the catheter can leave different elements:

  • Drugs to dissolve blood mass
  • Aspiration systems or mechanized removers
  • Balloons and stents, used to keep vessels open
  • Aneurysm repair metal coils

2. Surgery

By using surgery the medical professional can stir the spilled blood around the brain as well as mend those broken blood vessels.

After a stroke, most people need to attend rehabilitation to regain functions that may have been affected by the stroke. As well as re-education of the patient to eliminate those risk factors that could facilitate the appearance of a second stroke.