Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stroke: acute ischemia

Stroke or brain attack is a sudden impairment of cerebral circulation. A stroke is a cardiovascular event. It diminishes oxygen rich blood supply to the brain causing serious damage and necrosis of the tissue. Biological death occurs after 4 minutes when oxygen rich blood is not reaching tissue. Factors that increase your risk of stroke include history of TIA; transient ischemic attacks, atherosclerosis, HTN, kidney disease, arrhythmia, diabetes, high triglyceride levels, obesity, lack of exercise, use of hormonal medicine, and cigarette smoking.

A TIA is a neurologic deficit that last seconds to hours. It is usually a warning sign of an impending larger stroke. The most distinctive characteristics are transient in nature with complete return of function. Double vision, unilateral blindness, staggering, numbness and speech deficits are typically the result of a TIA. Early treatment is the key to preventing the stroke from further causing damage. Aspirin and anti-coagulants are administered after and between attacks and given for preventative measures.

Factors you can change to lower your risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event:  start an exercise regime, choose healthy foods, decrease intake of fat, salt, high carbohydrate foods, quite smoking and decrease amount of alcohol intake. Be proactive in choosing a healthier lifestyle. Factors you cannot change: genetics, family history.

Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer in the USA. Do your part and be heart healthy. Change the factors you have control over. There are plenty of resources out there to help you get started. See your physician first as he will guide you in the best direction for your individual situation.

Good health,

Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN