About stroke

Stroke, is the collective name for the condition with sudden symptoms that occur when a part of the brain’s nerve tissue damage due to inhibition of oxygen supply to the nerve cells in the affected area. The lack of oxygen resulting from either a blood clot in a blood vessel (cerebral infarction) or a rupture of a blood vessel inside the brain or on the surface of the brain (cerebral haemorrhage).

The trigger of stroke is cardiovascular disease, usually atherosclerosis. Vascular lesions cause cerebral infarction in approximately 85 percent of cases and cerebral hemorrhage in the remaining cases. According to statistics, stroke affects mostly the vascular areas of the brain which is the largest and most important for blood supply. But the small blood vessels, which is located deep in the brain, may also be affected, for example, because of high blood pressure.

How do you recognize stroke?

It’s a rush to get to the hospital for those who suffered a stroke. A rapid treatment can mean the difference between life and death. Learn, and others, to recognize the most common warning signs of the FAST-test. Call an ambulance immediately if you see someone is having a stroke.

Face. The face is hanging. Paralysis in the face?
Arm. An arm can not be held in the air for 10 seconds?
Speach. The language is slurred and words come out wrongly.
Time is valuable. Immediately call 112.

Print the FAST-test (including text and illustrations) and put on the bulletin board!

Cerebral infarction

When stroke occurs because of a blood clot, which totally or partially obstruct any of the brain arteries, occurs one cerebral infarction. The blood clot in the brain stops or strongly inhibits the blood supply to the nerve cells that normally receives its blood through the vessel. The greater the clogged blood vessel is and the closer the clot is located to the carotid arteries’ entry to the brain, the greater area of nerve tissue gets affected by the interruption or reduction of oxygen supply. When the brain does not receive enough blood that is resulting in lack of oxygen (ischemia) in the area and the nerve cells can not function normally. If the blood flow is much reduced or absent, the nerve cells will die in the part of the brain that is affected. Already after a few minutes the blood stop it occurs an “infarct”, a place with dead or severely injured neurons. In cerebral infarction occurs a swelling which can lead to death.

Some of the ischemic area is a core area where the tissue is irreversibly damaged due to lack of oxygen. The surrounding area is called the ischemic penumbra, is also damaged but can in some cases be recoverable if the stroke victim comes to the hospital in a very early stage.

Different types of clots

There are different types of clots. There are those formed in place where it is built on successively until the blood can no longer pass (thrombosis). There are also clots formed somewhere else than where they finally give symptoms (embolism). Some embolisms are formed in the heart and some in a vessel. Common to embolisms are that they move with the blood stream so high up in the brain’s vascular tree as far as their size allow. There they get stuck, clogging the vessel and impede blood flow to the part of the brain that normally receives its blood supply from the vessel.

Cerebral haemorrhage

A cerebral haemorrhage that is giving a blood accumulation, a hematoma, also causes stroke symptoms. This is due to blood leaking into the brain, or in the fluid-filled cavity surrounding the brain, damaging the nerves and tear neural pathways in the surrounding tissue. The pressure inside the head increases and disrupts nerve function. If the cerebral hemorrhage is small, and not located in a sensitive place, the pressure rise in the brain insignificant. The result is the same type of neurological symptoms as in cerebral infarction. Often, however, cerebral hemorrhage are more severe and can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and an impact of the level of consciousness. Deaths are common in cerebral haemorrhage than in cerebral infarction. Bleeding in the brain can have different causes. Most commonly is that a blood vessel is weakened due to arteriosclerosis or hypertension.

Aortic aneurysms in the brain

Bleeding source may also be an aneurysm, which in turn may be due to a congenital vascular malformation or weakness in the vessel wall (aneurysm). If bleeding occurs in the soft meninges, that surrounds and protects the brain, it is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage. The most common cause of such bleeding is hernia in an artery. This is more common in younger people than in older people.

TIA – warning sign of stroke

A form of stroke known as TIA (transient ischemic attack). TIA is a transient attack that signals that the blood flow in one of the cerebral arteries has been stopped or hampered in the short term, but also that the flow is restored so quickly that the brain tissue is not seriously injured. The symptoms are the same as those that arise in a “real” stroke. The difference is that the symptoms of TIA are transient and typical attack lasts a few minutes up to an hour. The symptoms draw back within a maximum of one day.