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When It Comes to Treating Stroke, Every Second Counts

  In the United States, today, stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious long term disability. Each year about 60000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke. May is Stroke Awareness Month. Drawing a parallel to heart attacks, the America Stroke Association a division of the American Heart Association calls strokes, Brain Attacks, to emphasize the importance of early intervention. Marian Community Hospital is joining in advising everyone that when it comes to treating stroke, every second counts. According to Vithalbhai Dhaduk, MD, Board Certified Neurologist at Marian Community Hospital, a stroke is an emergency similar to heart attacks. Everyone should learn the warning signs of stroke and take immediate action to get medical help. If a stroke or any of these symptoms occurs, call 911. Treatment given in a timely manner, may mean the difference between life and death.

The warning signs of stroke may include one or more of the following: Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; Sudden problems of seeing in one or both eyes; Sudden difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; Sudden severe headaches with no known cause.

As Dr. Dhaduk explained that strokes occur when a blood vessel bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts or is clogged by a blood clot or some other particle. The rupture or the blockage keeps part of the brain from getting the oxygen it needs. Without oxygen, the nerve cells cannot function and die within minutes. Sometimes a major stroke is preceded by a series of mini strokes. These temporary strokes are known as TIA's, transient ischemic attacks. These TIA’s are caused by the same conditions as a major stroke but does not do permanent injury. While they do not do permanent damage, they are serious warning signs and are a cause for alarm.

There are two types of strokes, Ischemic and Hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain and accounts for 70-80 percent of all strokes. Ischemic strokes are either Cerebral Thrombosis blood clots that develop at the site of the clogged portion of the vessel, or Cerebral Embolism blood clots that form at another location in the circulatory system. Hemorrhagic strokes result from weakened vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the brain. Two types of weakened blood vessels that causes a hemorrhagic stroke are Aneurysms and Arteriovenous Malformations. An aneurysm is a ballooning of a weakened blood vessel that may rupture and bleed into the brain. An arteriovenous malformation is a cluster of abnormally formed blood vessels that may rupture and bleed into the brain.

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