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What Is a Stroke?

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Effective secondary prevention of cerebral stroke is impossible without knowledge of the causes of this disease.

A stroke is a serious (acute) problem with blood circulation in the brain. The reason may be a rupture of, not necessarily a large, vessel; this type of stroke is called hemorrhagic. Or a blood clot blocking the blood flow, stroke, respectively, ischemic.

Depending on which part of the brain was damaged, those neurological functions for which it was responsible are affected. Some lose speech, while some become paralyzed partially or completely. Some have trouble breathing, and some die altogether.

Stroke statistics are disappointing: 31% of stroke patients require special care, 20% cannot walk independently, and only 8% return to normal life after a long rehabilitation. But worst of all, stroke is difficult to predict. No wonder they called it a blow. Acute cerebral impairment develops suddenly and quickly. Often, literally from scratch, a person has just laughed, joked, and now they call an ambulance.

Risk factors. Some people are more vulnerable to developing a stroke than others. And most often, these are those who:

  • Suffer from hypertension; this is the most common cause of strokes.
  • Have some type of heart condition (such as heart failure or arrhythmia).
  • Suffer from diabetes mellitus. Diabetes damages blood vessels, including the brain, increasing the risk of hemorrhage.
  • Are overweight.
  • Take certain medications. Dangerous drugs include those that alter estrogen levels. For example, birth control pills.
  • Lead a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Have high blood cholesterol levels.
  • Smoke.
  • Suffer from sleep apnea.
  • Are over 55 years old. According to statistics, every decade after 55, the risk of getting a stroke doubles.
  • Have a family history of strokes, with a close relative being a victim of a stroke.
  • Are male. In women, the risk of stroke is much lower.

Secondary prevention of stroke

Secondary prevention of stroke comes down primarily to lifestyle correction. Here’s what, according to experts, should be done in the first place, in addition to avoiding risk factors:

  • Monitor your blood pressure. People with arterial hypertension are especially frequent victims of strokes. They have cerebral hemorrhages (hemorrhagic strokes). Moreover, there are two possible scenarios for the development of events: either one of the cerebral vessels ruptures, or blood seeps through its wall into the surrounding tissues for some time. In any case, high blood pressure plays a significant role in this process. And for patients, it is crucial to keep the situation under control by the doctor to help maintain blood pressure at an optimal level.
  • Control your cholesterol levels. Most strokes occur when the arteries in the brain become narrowed or completely blocked (ischemic stroke). The reason is cholesterol plaque deposited on the walls of blood vessels. It is necessary to adhere to a diet that involves limiting fat intake to minimize illness. You should know that not all fats are harmful to the body (for example, polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are very useful).
  • Control your blood sugar levels to avoid risk factors. According to statistics, the presence of diabetes mellitus increases the risk of stroke by 2.5 times. It is not surprising that diabetics often experience heart failure, excess weight, and poor vascular walls. Moreover, when carbohydrate metabolism is disturbed, the rate of water excretion from the body increases, increasing the blood density. It is necessary to monitor the diet, limit the intake of fast carbohydrates, control the glucose level in the blood, and periodically pass the appropriate tests to avoid the development of a stroke.
  • Watch your weight. Being overweight brings with it several factors. These factors include an increase in blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and the possible development of diabetes. Losing even 4-5 extra pounds will significantly improve your chances of avoiding a stroke.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits. At least 4-5 servings (apple, cabbage salad, grilled vegetables, etc.) per day. Plant food lowers blood pressure and improves vascular elasticity; this, in turn, is an excellent secondary prevention of stroke.
  • Quit smoking. Passive smoking, like active smoking, has a destructive effect on blood vessels. And with a visit to smokers for the company too.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity reduces the risk of developing all types of stroke. Aerobic training is especially good: walking, running, swimming, cycling, fitness with a low load. Exercises work in a complex manner. They help reduce weight, improve the overall blood vessels and heart, and reduce stress. Try to keep your daily workouts up to at least 30 minutes.
  • Manage stress. At the moment of nervous tension, a large amount of adrenaline is released into the bloodstream. The glucose level rises sharply, the heart begins to work more actively, and blood pressure rises. There is a momentary load on the vessels, which can lead to a stroke. Of course, it is impossible to eliminate stress from life, but it is worth learning to control your reaction to stressful situations. People who are prone to nervousness may need to consult a doctor; they will recommend anti-anxiety medications.
  • Go through an annual medical examination. A timely visit to a doctor will help identify health problems on time and start treatment on time.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to reduce the risk factors of a stroke to zero. Therefore, in addition to preventive measures, it is important to know what a stroke looks like and what to do if it happens to you or someone close to you.

Doctors have several hours to save the person. Everyone needs to know the symptoms of a stroke to recognize the disease.

The first 3–6 hours after a stroke is the therapeutic window of time when medical care is most effective. Sometimes a person does not immediately notice that something is wrong with them or thinks that the malaise will go away on its own. Because of this, precious time is wasted, say, stroke survivors. Therefore, it is essential to know what a stroke looks like and what to do with it.

The main signs of a stroke

The main signs of a stroke

  • Suddenly and severely, the head begins to hurt.
  • The person loses consciousness.
  • The balance is disturbed, the gait becomes unsteady.
  • Part of the body goes numb on one side, for example, half of the face.
  • Speech problems appear; words are difficult to pronounce.
  • Vision loss in one eye or both.

How do you know for sure that this is a stroke? Ask the person to follow a few simple steps:

  • Smile. If a person cannot smile or the smile comes out one-sided (this was not the case before), sound the alarm.
  • Talk. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence or poem after you. After a stroke, articulation is impaired, speech becomes slurred.
  • Stick out tongue. If a person cannot do this, if the tongue involuntarily deviates to one side or looks slanted, then this is a stroke.
  • Raise two hands evenly. With a stroke, a person will not be able to control both arms equally well.
  • Raise your hands in front of you and close your eyes. If one arm falls involuntarily, it is a sign of a stroke.
  • Write SMS. Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital noticed that patients who lack other signs of a stroke could not type a coherent message and write a meaningless set of words without noticing it.

If a person has not coped with at least one of the tasks, this is enough to act immediately.

What if a person has a stroke? First, call an ambulance. Be sure to describe why you suspect a stroke: a headache suddenly started, the person lost consciousness or balance. Tell us what the patient cannot do: cannot smile, cannot raise two hands, cannot pronounce words.

With a stroke, professional help is needed as soon as possible.

After calling an ambulance, lay the person on pillows; the elevation should start from the shoulder blades. Provide fresh air, open a window or door in the room, unbutton tight clothes.

Do not give food and water because organ functions may be impaired, and it will be difficult for a person to swallow.

If possible, measure your blood pressure. If it is high, give the person the blood pressure-lowering medication they usually take. If there is no such pill, do not give anything.

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Lone Star Neurology
4.4
Based on 703 reviews
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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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