In last month’s issue, the warning signs and a stroke checklist were provided. This article will explain what a stroke is.

What type of disease is it?
Blood vessels in the brain get clogged and brain cells die.

A stroke or cerebral infarction occurs when the blood flow to the brain gets blocked or the flow lessens dramatically due to the build up in the vessel wall and the needed oxygen and nutrients don’t reach the brain cells, causing their death.
About 70 percent of strokes in the Japanese populace are cerebral infarction. Males are said to be 1.7 times higher in risk than females. Occurrence rises quickly with age. When blood flow to the brain stops completely, brain cells die within a few minutes and cannot be brought back. But even if a single vessel is blocked, other vessels can pump blood into the brain so a sudden stoppage might not occur. Thus, is it important to treat a stroke as soon as possible and save the brain cells that can be saved.

The Causes?
Atherothrombotic brain infarction stems from the hardening of the artery, and cerebral embolism are found in people with ischemic heart diseases.

The word atheroma means changes such as swelling in the arterial wall due to accumulation of debris. High blood pressure, high fat content in blood and diabetes can lead to the hardening of the arteries. When the large arteries serving the brain or the carotid artery in the neck begin to harden, the inside diameter of the arteries become smaller and thrombosis can occur.
Furthermore, clot cells can work themselves loose from the wall and make their way via the bloodstream into the finer vessels in the brain and clog them, leading to a stroke. The initial stages are mild and develop in a few hours going on to days. Even if the blood vessels become clogged, nearby vessels can continue to feed the brain so there is no instant death of the brain. But if this disease remains undiagnosed, then the disease will keep worsening.
The other type of embolism can stem from within the heart or the carotid artery and the embolism might be carried into the capillaries within the brain and clog them. People with valvular heart disease, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation and myocardial infarction are prone to embolism.
Unlike atherothrombotic brain infarction, cerebral embolism develops quickly. The thrombus (blood clot) within the heart tends to be of a larger size and can even quickly block the brain’s larger blood vessels, leaving very little leeway in terms of time. Blood flow can stop quickly, leading to death or very serious conditions.

Next issue: Stroke Symptoms

(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)


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