If you're part of the "stroke club" that nobody wants to be part of but is full of really cool peeps (like us); you probably already know that this month is stroke awareness month. If you're a visitor interested in learning more about stroke and aphasia, then buckle up, buttercup; we're about to hit you with some serious knowledge. 🙂
Sharing this critical information about stroke can be lifesaving and make a huge difference in long-term recovery if you recognize the signs and act quickly.
Especially since one in three people who have a stroke experience some level of aphasia.
What Is A Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells start to die within minutes.
Stroke Myth: A common myth is that stroke only affects people later on in life. This is false. Anyone at any age can suffer from a stroke.
There are different types of strokes:
- Ischemic: Occurs when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed. It accounts for 87% of all strokes.
- Hemorrhagic Stroke: Occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. The two types of weakened blood vessels that usually cause hemorrhagic stroke are aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is uncontrolled high blood pressure.
- TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack): Called a mini-stroke, it’s caused by a serious temporary clot. This is a warning sign of stroke and should be taken seriously.
- Cryptogenic Stroke: In most cases, a stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood to the brain. In some instances, despite testing, the cause of a stroke can’t be determined. This is called a cryptogenic stroke.
- Brain Stem Stroke: A brain stem stroke is when a stroke occurs in the brain stem, it can affect both sides of the body and may leave someone in a ‘locked-in’ state. When a locked-in state occurs, the patient is generally unable to speak or move below the neck.
Signs Of Stroke
There are many signs of strokes, and this varies per person, but below are some of the most common ones. Ryan specifically experienced vision disturbances early on, but it was misdiagnosed as residual effects of the flu virus. A very common sign of stroke is severe headache or migraine. There has been some speculation that the risk of stroke is twice as high for those who experience migraine with aura or visual disturbances.
Spotting A Stroke
Have you heard of the acronym F.A.S.T.? It’s an important one to remember! If you noticed any of the below signs, call 911 immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to getting proper medical attention, and it can make a huge difference in recovery time and deficits incurred by the stroke.
It’s important to act F.A.S.T. when recognizing the signs of a stroke to get proper treatment. Getting immediate treatment can minimize the long-term effects and even prevent death. For ischemic strokes, which are the most common, treatment includes administering an FDA-approved Alteplase IV r-tPA, also known as a tissue plasminogen activator. This treatment helps to dissolve the blood clot and improve blood flow. If administered within three hours, Alteplase IV r-tPA may improve the chances of stroke recovery.
If Alteplase IV r-tPA is not effective in dissolving the clot, which it was not in Ryan’s case, another endovascular procedure or mechanical thrombectomy may be needed to remove the clot via a catheter sent into the blocked blood vessel of the brain.
TIP: It’s important to familiarize yourself with these treatments and understand the risks involved in all treatments for stroke.