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- A clot that forms in another part of the body (eg, heart or neck) breaking off and blocking flow in a blood vessel supplying the brain (embolus)
- A clot that forms in an artery that supplies blood to the brain (thrombus)
- A tear in a blood vessel supplying a part of the brain (arterial dissection)
- Certain conditions, like:
- Medicines (eg, long-term use of birth control pills )
- Physical inactivity
- Diet high in sodium and processed foods
- History of stroke , heart attack , or other type of cardiovascular disease
- History of transient ischemic attack (TIA)—With a TIA, stroke symptoms often resolve within minutes (and always within 24 hours). They may signal a very high risk of having a stroke in the future.
- Age: 60 or older
- Family members who have had a stroke
- Gender: males
- Race: Black, Asian, Hispanic
- Blood disorder that increases clotting
- Heart valve disease (eg, mitral stenosis )
- Problems with vital functions (eg, breathing)
- Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, and speaking
- Weakness or paralysis in the arms, legs, and/or face
- Problems with sensation
- Hearing loss
- Vision problems
- Vertigo (feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not moving)
- “Locked-in syndrome” (only the eyes are able to move)
- Exam of nervous system
- Computed tomography (CT) scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the brain
- CT angiogram—a type of CT scan that evaluates the blood vessels in the brain and/or neck
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the brain
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) —a type of MRI scan that evaluates the blood vessels in the brain and/or neck
- Angiogram —a test that uses a catheter (tube) and x-ray machine to assess the heart and its blood supply
- Heart function tests (eg, electrocardiogram , echocardiogram )
- Doppler ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to examine blood vessels
- Blood tests
- Tests to check the level of oxygen in the blood
- Kidney and liver function tests
- Dissolve a clot causing an ischemic stroke to allow blood flow to the brain
- Stop the bleeding during a hemorrhagic stroke
- Dissolve clots and prevent new ones from forming
- Thin blood
- Control blood pressure
- Treat an irregular heart rate
- Treat high cholesterol
- Work against any blood-thinning drugs you may regularly take
- Reduce how your brain reacts to bleeding
- Control blood pressure
- Embolectomy—a catheter is used to remove the clot or deliver clot-dissolving drugs
- Carotid angioplasty and stenting —carotid artery is widened and a mesh tube is placed to keep it open
- Physical therapy—to work on improving movement
- Occupational therapy—to assist in everyday tasks and self-care
- Speech therapy—to improve swallowing and speech challenges
- Psychological therapy—to provide support in adjusting to life after the stroke
- Exercise regularly .
- Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation (1-2 drinks per day).
- If you smoke, quit .
- If you have a chronic condition, like high blood pressure or diabetes, get proper treatment.
- If recommended by your doctor, take a low-dose aspirin every day.
- If you are at risk for having a stroke, talk to your doctor about statin medicines.
American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/
National Stroke Association http://www.stroke.org/
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com/
Stroke Survivors Association of Ottawa http://www.strokesurvivors.ca/
Adams H, Adams R, Brott T, et al. Guidelines for the early management of patients with ischemic stroke. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/34/4/1056 . Published 2003. Accessed April 22, 2011.
Am I at risk for a stroke? National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=risk . Accessed April 15, 2011.
Brain stem stroke. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://cms.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/EffectsofStroke/Brain-Stem-Stroke%5FUCM%5F310771%5FArticle.jsp . Updated December 23, 2010. Accessed April 22, 2011.
Brainstem stroke. Ohio State University website. Available at: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patiented/materials/pdfdocs/dis-cond/stroke/brainstem-stroke.pdf . Accessed April 22, 2011.
Cerebral angiography. Internet Stroke Center website. Available at: http://www.strokecenter.org/patients/diagnosis/angio.htm . Accessed April 22, 2011.
Effects of stroke. Magee Rehabilitation website. Available at: http://www.mageerehab.org/effects-of-stroke.php . Accessed April 15, 2011.
Effects of stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=EFFECT . Accessed April 15, 2011.
Effects of stroke. Ohio State University Medical Center website. Available at: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare%5Fservices/stroke/effects/Pages/index.aspx . Accessed April 15, 2011.
Effects of stroke. Rush University Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.rush.edu/rumc/page-1098987413801.html . Accessed April 15, 2011.
Mena F, Fruns M, Contreras A, Soto F, Mena I. Acute brainstem infarct: multidisciplinary management. Alasbimn Journal website. Available at: http://www.alasbimnjournal.cl/revistas/5/mena5.htm . Published October 1999. Accessed April 22, 2011.
Prevention of stroke: recommendations. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated April 7, 2011. Accessed April 15, 2011.
Stroke (acute management): treatment overview. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated April 11, 2011. Accessed April 15, 2011.
Stroke: causes. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150/DSECTION=causes . Updated July 1, 2010. Accessed April 15, 2011.
Stroke: frequently asked questions. Women’s Health.gov website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/stroke.cfm . Updated January 28, 2009. Accessed April 22, 2011.
Stroke: treatments and drugs. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs . Accessed July 1, 2010. Accessed April 15, 2011.
Tests for the emergent evaluation of the patient with acute ischemic stroke. Internet Stroke Center website. Available at: http://www.strokecenter.org/education/ais%5Fevaluation/tests.htm . Accessed April 22, 2011.
Wood D. Stroke. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated March 28, 2011. Accessed April 15, 2011.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 06/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/61/2012 -