A cerebrovascular accident, or in the common term, a Stroke, is one of the three most common causes of death in the western world, after heart diseases and cancer. But, it is different than those two by the fact that it is the first cause of major handicap. Today, in the western world, about 12,000 of every million people will have some kind of stroke. In Israel, about 15,000 have a stroke every year. 16 percent of them die and only 25 percent return to normal function. The rest, about 56 percent, are left with some kind of disability. From easier disabilities such as paralysis of one side of the face to serious disabilities like full body paralysis, it depends on the area hit in the brain.
There are two major types of strokes:
Hemorrhagic stroke – aneurysm: when there is a blood leak from one of the blood vessels in the brain that causes an increase in the pressure that in turn damages the brain tissue. This is the less common of the two major types of strokes with only 15 percent of the strokes.
Ischemic stroke – about 85 percent of the strokes are of this type. It is caused by decreased blood supply to the brain usually due to a blood clot forming or blocking one of the vessels that deliver blood to the brain. The lack of blood means lack of oxygen and energy to the brain tissues in turn causing damage to it. This is quite similar to a heart problems where blood vessels to the heart get blocked or narrowed to the point where not enough blood can flow through them.
When there is not enough blood flow to the body tissues and not enough oxygen and energy arrive to them, the cells begin to "die". When more and more cells die the level of damage rises. This is why when one is stroking "time is money", the sooner the oxygen supply returns the better the chances we have of recovery are. Today we know that in the span of the first 3-6 hours from the stroke we can still prevent damage and thus it is important to get treatment as soon as possible.
There is much more awareness to heart failures, or better put, much more telltale signs that get people to seek fast treatment like: strong chest pains, shortage of breath and pains in the hand.
Similar to heart failure signs, strokes have signs:
Sudden facial spasm.
Difficulty to talk and disorientation.
Foggy sight in one eye.
Half body paresthesia and one hand that can't move.
Deviation of the tongue.
If you feel these signs it is advised to get to the hospital as fast as possible, even if only some of the signs appear.
The last few years there is a decline in deaths of people who has strokes, this is mainly due to awareness, reducing the time from the stroke itself to receiving treatment, decreasing the damage caused by strokes.
This article should not be seen as professional medical consultation and it is always advised to consult a doctor in any aspect of neurological diseases and strokes