What is a Stroke?
A Stroke, or “brain attack,” occurs when a blood vessel inside the brain is either blocked or ruptures. Strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability and the second leading cause of death worldwide.
Different Types of Strokes
When a stroke occurs due to a sudden blockage of the artery, it disrupts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to part of the brain. We refer to this type of stroke as an “Ischemic” stroke. Approximately 80 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes.
When it occurs due to a rupture of a blood vessel, often due to uncontrolled blood pressure, a ruptured aneurysm, or blood vessel malformation, we call them “Hemorrhagic” strokes. While there are treatments available for hemorrhagic strokes, time is critical and treatment is limited.
The best chance to avoid death and disability is to learn the symptoms and activate your emergency medical system.
During an ischemic stroke, the sudden blockage in an artery will disrupt blood flow which carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The brain cells (neurons) in the part of the brain supplied by the artery will now be in a state of low oxygen and eventually die. You can suffer from different stroke symptoms depending on which part of the brain and how much is affected.
While many other conditions impact patients over months, stroke victims are struck with sudden, potentially life-long paralysis that kills over 2 million brain cells a minute and ages the brain by 3.6 years per hour.
Large Vessel Occlusion (LVO)
LVO stands for large vessel occlusion (blockage) and represents about 10-20 percent of ischemic strokes, approximately 1.3 - 2.6 million people per year. As the name suggests, this occurs when one of the larger arteries carrying blood to the brain is impacted. As a large part of the brain is involved, they tend to cause severe disability and death if untreated.
It is very important to identify patients suffering from these types of strokes as soon as possible, as they may benefit from receiving a life-saving procedure called mechanical thrombectomy.
Time is Critical
When there is low blood flow, but irreversible cell death has not yet occurred, there is a small window of time to restore blood flow. This can save brain tissue and minimize disability.
Therefore, it is very important to engage your emergency services immediately if you are experiencing the signs of stroke as you may be eligible for the treatment that can help reduce disability from the stroke.