Stroke Education
The Stroke Network

stroke clot




Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to brain cells. A stroke occurs when blood flow is interrupted to part of the brain. Without blood, brain cells quickly begin to die.  Every second that the brain is deprived of oxygen, 32,000 brain cells die. 

Although 85% of stroke victims are eligible for the clot busting drug, tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, only about 5% of patients actually arrive in the hospital within the maximum time of application, which is four hours. 

Stroke can affect different people in different ways. It depends on the type of stroke, the area of the brain affected and the extent of the brain injury. 

Stroke causes many physical and emotional side-effects.  Stroke is the number one cause of serious permanent disability. 

Below are listed some of the more common disabilities that stroke can cause:

bullet lack of sensation
bullet partial or total paralysis  (hemiplegia)
bullet bowel and bladder control
bullet inability to walk and problems with coordination and balance (ataxia)
bullet vision neglect
bullet sexual ability
bullet loss of balance
bullet loss of muscle tone
bullet spasticity
bullet central pain syndrome (thalamic pain)
bullet problems with speech and understanding language (aphasia)
bullet shortened retention spans and difficulty learning new information
bullet inability or difficulty with swallowing
bullet impaired ability to do math or to organize, reason, and analyze items
bullet loss of short-term memory
bullet behavioral changes such as lack of concern about situations, impulsivity, inappropriateness, and depression
bullet coma
bullet death
bullet ... and many more side-effects not mentioned

Stroke Terms Stroke commonly affects the emotions.  It can cause lack of control of your emotions and an improper response may happen at inappropriate times.  This is called the Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA).  PBA, also known as emotional lability, is a distinct neurologic disorder that causes involuntary crying or uncontrollable episodes of crying and/or laughing, or other emotional displays.

The statistics about stroke are unbelievable!  Every 45 seconds someone suffers a stroke.  Over 750,000 people in the United States experience a stroke every year. Stroke kills nearly 160,000 people each year.  Stroke is the third leading cause of death in this country.  Nearly 30% of those who suffer a stroke are under the age of 65.  They affect men nearly as often as women and blacks almost twice more often than whites.

Stroke requires immediate medical attention. Thus: Stroke requires immediate medical attention. Standard individual health insurance plans and HMO covers this. The sooner treatment is received, the better the chances of survival. Because of improved treatment methods, less than three out of ten people who suffer a stroke die from the experience.  Thrombolytic therapy is the use of drugs to break-up the clot that is causing the disruption in blood flow to the brain.

It is crucial, imperative, and very important that you immediately go to the hospital when you first notice the warning signs of a stroke. The length of time between the first warning signs and the time you get to a hospital may be the difference between a good or poor outcome. Patients who present to the hospital within 3 hours of the first sign of a stroke have the possibility to receive Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA).

There are many factors that determine whether or not a patient is able to receive thrombolytic therapy. One of these factors, that you have control of, is the amount of time between the onset of symptoms and presentation to the hospital. If you get to the hospital within the 3 hour time frame and the doctor determines you are able to receive this clot-buster, you may have a better recovery.

Copyright  of The Stroke Network
All rights reserved.
Original date 3/1/96 Revised 11/24/08



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