Cerebral stroke is a condition in which blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This can be due to blockage of blood vessels or bleeding in the brain. Cerebral strokes are more common in older adults, but they can also occur in children. The stroke causes damage to brain cells, which can lead to weakness and paralysis of limbs on one side of the body.
Cerebral strokes can affect both the right and left sides of the brain. The right side of the brain is responsible for processing information related to emotions, intuition, and creativity. The left side of the brain is responsible for processing information related to logic, reasoning, and other aspects of language.
The most common cause is a blood clot that forms in a cerebral artery, which supplies blood to the brain. The blockage can also be caused by a tumor or aneurysm. Other causes include hemorrhaging from trauma or bleeding disorders. It can lead to a variety of symptoms, including weakness on one side of the body and difficulty speaking or understanding language.
There are two main types of cerebral strokes: hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes.
- A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. This type of stroke can cause bleeding in or around the brain, which can lead to severe brain damage or death. Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by bleeding in the brain. This can also be caused by an aneurysm, which is a bulge in a cerebral artery that has become weak and thinned out over time; trauma to the head, such as a car accident or fall; or bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia. Hemorrhagic strokes are more common in older people because their arteries tend to be weaker than those of younger people.
- Ischemic strokes are caused by a blockage that prevents sufficient blood flow to an area of the brain, resulting in tissue death (called infarction). This can be caused by an embolism (a blood clot that travels to the brain from elsewhere in the body), a thrombosis (a blood clot that forms within an artery), or a carotid artery dissection (when a tear develops in one of these vessels).
- Ischemic strokes are more common than hemorrhagic strokes, but they are less severe and don’t usually cause permanent disability. This can be caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, smoking, or atrial fibrillation (a heart condition). This type of stroke is most commonly caused by atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries. The plaques can eventually rupture, causing blood to leak into surrounding tissues and form clots that block blood flow. Ischemic strokes are more common than hemorrhagic strokes and most often affect people who are over age 65.
The most common symptoms of stroke include:
- weakness or numbness on one side of your body temporarily affecting movement or sensation
- difficulty speaking or understanding speech, especially if you have trouble moving your tongue and lips when you speak;
- sudden confusion or loss of consciousness;
- loss of balance, weakness, lack of coordination (ataxia), dizziness, problems with vision and balance;
- sudden headache that gets worse over time;
- sudden changes in vision, such as dimming vision due to a loss of blood flow to an area of your brain, and;
- sudden changes in personality or behavior.
Damage to the brain caused by a cerebral stroke can range from mild to severe, depending on where in the brain the stroke has taken place and how much damage has been done. A stroke can cause you to lose control of your body, speech, and thinking. Most people who experience a cerebral stroke will also sometimes suffer a form of temporary impairment or disability. The severity of this impairment depends on the location within the brain that was affected by the stroke—and can range from minor symptoms such as dizziness or vision problems to life-threatening conditions such as paralysis or coma.
There are two main types of treatment for cerebral strokes: medical and surgical. Medical treatment aims to stop the bleeding and reduce any swelling in the brain; surgical treatment aims to restore blood flow to the area of damage. The best way to prevent a cerebral stroke is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid certain risk factors. These include high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, or being sedentary. It’s also important to get regular checkups with your doctor.
Remember that prevention is always the best medicine and that if you get a stroke and are admitted to the hospital, ensure you have your dental and medical records on hand, as these can help doctors diagnose your underlying condition. If diagnosed, you can also enroll in stroke clinical trials to get screened for any experimental treatments available.
Ultimately, healthy living habits are the best way to limit your chances of getting a stroke. Eating properly, keeping your blood pressure under control, getting regular exercise, and avoiding drugs and tobacco products are some of the best ways to avoid any stroke risks.