Am I At Risk of A Stroke?

Strokes are the third leading cause of death for Americans, with 20% leading to fatal consequences. How do you know if you’re at risk? Unfortunately, strokes can target anyone at any time, but several risk factors can make you more susceptible:

  • Advanced age
  • Family history of strokes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity and other weight issues
  • High levels of homocysteine (an amino acid) in the blood

Are Strokes Painful?

t’s assumed by many that a serious condition such as a stroke comes with a tremendous amount of pain, but this is mostly inaccurate. In fact, 85% people who suffer a stroke tend to ignore the symptoms due to not experiencing any sort of pain.

To avoid the dangers that may arise by failing to identify the symptoms, it’s important to understand and recognize them:

  • Sudden confusion
  • Speech difficulties
  • Numbing in the arms, legs or face
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes

Are Strokes Strictly Hereditary?

While family history plays an important role in determining the likelihood of a stroke, there are plenty of other factors that can increase the risk of suffering one. The best thing to do is monitor these risks closely. Regulating your blood pressure and cholesterol while exercising and avoiding smoking can greatly decrease your risk of suffering a stroke.

Can Strokes Be Prevented?

Many believe a condition as serious as a stroke can’t be prevented. Fortunately, facts say otherwise. The close monitoring and control of blood pressure is one of the most important things a person can do to prevent a stroke. The help of a physician who treats and regulates high blood pressure can also decrease the risk of suffering this debilitating condition.

Do Strokes Only Affect Old People?

There’s a common misconception that strokes are an “old people” condition, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The American Stroke Association has recognized an increase of strokes in younger people and a decrease in the older crowd. Strokes in males aged 15 to 34 increased 51% while females in the same category saw an increase of 17% between 1994 and 2007.

Do Strokes Happen in the Heart?

Many people believe that strokes are a heart condition and synonymous with a heart attack, but this is far from the truth. A stroke is actually an instant loss of brain function due to a lack of blood flow and is unassociated with the heart. There are two types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic.

An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is obstructed while a hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery ruptures. As with many other serious conditions, identifying a stroke’s symptoms is vital for recovery later on.

Do Mini-Strokes Mean Future Strokes?

A transient ischemic attack, or “mini-stroke”, is an episode with stroke-like symptoms that recede on their own. If you or a loved one ever experiences a mini-stroke, it’s important to remain alert.

While these small attacks may seem minor with no need to worry, they should be treated and evaluated to help monitor the risk of a stronger stroke. These aggressive attacks tend to appear after only two days of a mini-stroke episode.

How Long Will it Take to Recover from Aneurysm Treatment?

Lengthy recovery periods attributed to traditional procedures are a thing of the past. Technological advancements in procedures used to treat aneurysms, such as microsurgical clipping and endovascular coiling, can have you up and out of the hospital in as little as two days. Additionally, with these minimally invasive treatments, you can potentially experience less pain and scarring.

What Are The Risk Factors For Aneurysms?

One of the most effective methods of evading a medical condition is, of course, avoiding the factors that could potentially cause them. While this is easier said than done, understanding the risk factors of an aneurysm can be an important step in keeping away from its dangers. Some of these risks include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension

It’s important to understand some risk factors are hard to avoid due to their hereditary causes, while others, such as syphilis, tuberculosis and brain infections, are a product of specific conditions.

Which Procedures Are Used to Treat Aneurysms?

Factors such as the location, size and if the growth has ruptured will have a big determination in what treatment will be used. The following procedures are generally the most effective.

  • Microsurgical clipping – this procedure has been in existence the longest. It consists of the removal of a small part of bone to access the affected area. A titanium clip is then placed on the aneurysm to prevent bleeding and keep blood flow away from it.
  • Endovascular coiling – A small incision is made on the skull to access the aneurysm. A coil is then placed on the aneurysm to seal it with clotting.
  • Pipeline® Embolization – this highly-advance procedure places the Pipeline® Embolization device in the artery and seals it. The pain and lengthy recovery period attributed to traditional procedures is significantly decreased with this minimally invasive procedure.

Do Aneurysms Cause Symptoms?

Aneurysms, like many other conditions, tend to have symptoms that vary depending on its location in the body. Whether your aneurysm is located in the blood vessels of your brain, the thoracic aorta (the largest artery in the body) or in the heart itself, the important thing to do is identify the symptoms and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some of the most common symptoms include:

When the aneurysm exists in the surface of the body:

  • Pain in the abdominal area, back or scrotum
  • Swelling
  • Vomiting

Cerebral aneurysms:

  • Problems with vision
  • Loss of balance and perception
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty formulating speech

If the aneurysm ruptures:

  • Severe headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Neck pain
  • Pain around the eyes

What Are The Risk Factors of An Aneurysm?

Aneurysms occur when the walls of an artery are weakened and a spherically-shaped bulge forms. If the aneurysm continues its growth, it can eventually burst or dissect, leading to dangerous and/or life-threatening conditions such as a hemorrhagic stroke and hypovolemic shock. To prevent these dangers, it’s important to understand the risk factors that could potentially lead to aneurysms. These include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension

What Are The Treatment Options For A Stroke?

Treatments for strokes vary depending on the type. An ischemic stroke is treated by restoring blood flow to the brain while the treatment for a hemorrhagic stroke stops blood loss and treats the damaged artery. At IGEA Brain & Spine, our neurosurgeons specialize in treatments such as Tissue Plasminogen Activator (IV tPA)and Intra-Arterial Thrombectomy.

Our IV-tPA procedure is the fastest method for treating strokes as it uses drugs which break down the clogs preventing blood flow to the brain. The minimally-invasive Intra-Arterial Thrombectomy is designed to clear the arterial blockage while reducing your recovery period and decreasing the scarring associated with traditional surgery.

What Are The Symptoms of A Stroke?

The first step in fighting the effects of a stroke is identifying the symptoms. With quick medical assistance, you can prevent the risk of debilitating aftereffects or death. Just moments after a stroke, brain cells begin to die and symptoms intensify. Symptoms can include:

  • Sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg
  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness or headaches
  • Loss of equilibrium and trouble moving  or walking