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Diagnosis / Stroke

A stroke is a serious event that affects nearly 800,000 people in the United States each year. It impacts the arteries leading to your brain, as well as the blood vessels inside. Strokes occur when one of these vessels, responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood and vital nutrients to the brain, is blocked or ruptures. When the flow of necessary blood is reduced or stops, the part of the brain that is deprived begins to die.

Strokes are medical emergencies that require immediate care. The faster the stroke is treated, the better the outlook for the person having the stroke. Strokes can be fatal, but they can also be treated and prevented, minimizing damage and the potential for further complications or disability.

Types of Stroke

Strokes are a result of one of two events – a blocked artery (known as an ischemic stroke) or a leaking or burst blood vessel (known as a hemorrhagic stroke).

Ischemic strokes, which make up about 87 percent of all stroke cases, are a result of a blocked artery to the brain. This blockage drastically reduces the blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke. Types of ischemic stroke include thrombotic (caused by a blood clot) and embolic (caused by a blood clot or other foreign object that lodges in the arteries leading to the brain).

Hemorrhagic strokes are a result of a blood vessel in your brain leaking or rupturing. They can be caused by long-term high blood pressure or weak spots in the walls of the blood vessels. Types of hemorrhagic strokes include intracerebral (caused by a blood vessel inside the brain bursting, damaging surrounding brain cells and depriving other brain cells of blood) and subarachnoid (caused by the rupture of one of the arteries near the surface of the brain, leaking blood into the space between your skull and brain).

Some people may experience a “ministroke,” or what is known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA). This is caused by a temporary decrease in the blood supply to your brain, and presents with symptoms similar to those of a full-blown stroke. A TIA typically only lasts up to five minutes, and leaves no permanent damage. However, this does not mean that you should ignore the event. If you have a TIA, it puts you at a higher risk for having a more serious stroke later.

Symptoms of a Stroke

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be at risk for a stroke be alert to the following signs, including:

  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion or difficulty understanding
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Numbness or paralysis of the face (one side of the face droops)
  • Numbness or paralysis of the legs and arms, especially on one side of your body
  • Trouble walking or loss of coordination
  • Blurred vision or seeing double
  • Sudden dizziness, nausea or vomiting

If you have any of the signs of a stroke, or see them in someone else, seek medical attention immediately. Even if the symptoms pass quickly, there is no way to tell simply by your symptoms if you have had either a TIA or a stroke, and you may have sustained brain damage.

Risk Factors for Stroke

There are several factors that increase your risk of stroke, including:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Family history of stroke
  • Age
  • Gender
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Heavy drinking
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

While some of the above risks are unavoidable, many are preventable through lifestyle changes.

Effects of a Stroke

Depending on the severity of your stroke, and which part of your brain was affected, resulting disabilities may be temporary or permanent. Strokes are one of the leading causes of long-term disabilities, and the leading cause of preventable disabilities. Effects of a stroke may include:

  • Paralysis
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired judgment and understanding
  • Difficulty talking
  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Behavioral changes
  • Pain, discomfort or numbness
  • Change in ability for self-care or grooming

Again, some of these issues may be temporary and can be treated with a variety of therapies (physical, speech, cognitive, etc.).

Preventing a Stroke

The best way to prevent a stroke is to be aware of your risk factors, and seek out preventative medical care if necessary. You should also maintain a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, healthy eating, staying at a healthy weight, managing stress, and avoiding smoking.

The physicians of IVC perform minimally invasive catheter directed treatments for patients suffering a stroke.

* This information about Strokes was reviewed by Dr. Jason R. Bauer. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below.

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We are announcing that Interventional and Vascular Consultants will be closing as of March 10, 2023.

We would like to thank you for the trust you have given us over the years, participating in your healthcare needs has been a privilege.

To assist in a smooth transition to a new provider, you may access your records from your MyHealth account or request a copy of medical records by clicking the link below and completing the Release of Information form.

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Please know that we have greatly valued our relationship with you and wish you the best.


Jason Bauer, MD RVT
Michael Pfister, MD RVT

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