A stroke can be a serious condition that can lead to disabling long-term effects, such as damage to the brain. A stroke occurs when blood to the brain becomes hindered. As a result, brain cells begin to die and the brain begins to lose oxygen. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, strokes are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. The symptoms and duration of a stroke vary, depending on the type you have just suffered from.
Transient Ischemic Attack
A transient ischemic attack is a precursor to a stroke. According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 1 in 3 people who have a transient attack end up having a stroke. Such an attack is a warning that you must get prompt medical attention in order to prevent the possibility of a full-blown stroke. Symptoms of a transient attack are exactly like a stroke but may last for only a few minutes to up to 24 hours.
About 20 percent of strokes (hemorrhagic strokes) are the result of a blood vessel that bursts and begins to bleed into the brain. Symptoms of a stroke can happen without warning, and very suddenly. Without proper medical attention, the effects of a stroke, such as paralysis and memory loss, can last forever. It's important to realize the warning signs in order to get help and prevent lasting effects.
If you notice that you suddenly become confused or disoriented, have trouble walking or even speaking, these are early symptoms of a stroke. You might slur or jumble your words. You might begin to feel numb on one side of your body. A good indicator that you are having a stroke is if you raise both arms above your head, and one falls without your control. Vision disturbances and severe, persistent headaches are also stroke symptoms.
Seeking Medical Attention
Though a transient ischemic attack will pass, seek help to prevent further damage. If you have difficulty in breathing or begin to vomit without cessation, get help immediately. The Mayo Clinic claims that a stroke is a brain attack, and the longer you wait to seek medical attention, the more likely you will end up with a long-term disability.
According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, patients who were treated with the drug TPA (tissue plasminogen activator) within 3 hours of having a stroke did better than those who did not receive the drug. Patients treated with the drug were able to recover better, and had very little to no disability after 3 months.
People who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are at a higher risk of suffering from a stroke. According to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, aspirin therapy may help to reduce the risk of stroke, but only if you do not have high blood pressure and if recommended by a physician.