Stroke Information

Introduction

There are many choices when it comes to your care, but there's only one Trusted Source! That's the Stead Heart and Vascular Center at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. We continue to offer one of the most complete lines of stroke services in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. In fact, we are ranked among the highest overall rated programs in the two counties. 

What is a stroke?

A stroke or "brain attack" occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain.
 
When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. These abilities include speech, movement and memory. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. Someone who has a small stroke may experience only minor problems such as weakness of an arm or leg. People who have larger strokes may be paralyzed on one side or lose their ability to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability. Learn the symptoms and act FAST. To learn more on the symptoms of a stroke, click on the pdf link below.

Types of Stroke

Ischemic Stroke
In everyday life, blood clotting is beneficial. When you are bleeding from a wound, blood clots work to slow and eventually stop the bleeding. In the case of stroke, however, blood clots are dangerous because they can block arteries and cut off blood flow, a process called ischemia. An ischemic stroke can occur in two ways: embolic and thrombotic strokes.
 
Embolic Stroke
In an embolic stroke, a blood clot forms somewhere in the body (usually the heart) and travels through the bloodstream to your brain. Once in your brain, the clot eventually travels to a blood vessel small enough to block its passage. The clot lodges there, blocking the blood vessel and causing a stroke. The medical word for this type of blood clot is embolu
 
Thrombotic Stroke
In the second type of blood-clot stroke, blood flow is impaired because of a blockage to one or more of the arteries supplying blood to the brain. The process leading to this blockage is known as thrombosis. Strokes caused in this way are called thrombotic strokes. That's because the medical word for a clot that forms on a blood-vessel deposit is thrombus.
 
Blood-clot strokes can also happen as the result of unhealthy blood vessels clogged with a buildup of fatty deposits and cholesterol. Your body regards these buildups as multiple, tiny and repeated injuries to the blood vessel wall. So your body reacts to these injuries just as it would if you were bleeding from a wound;it responds by forming clots. Two types of thrombosis can cause stroke: large vessel thrombosis and small vessel disease (or lacunar infarction.)
 
Large Vessel Thrombosis
Thrombotic stroke occurs most often in the large arteries, so large vessel thrombosis is the most common and best understood type of thrombotic stroke. Most large vessel thrombosis is caused by a combination of long-term atherosclerosis followed by rapid blood clot formation. Thrombotic stroke patients are also likely to have coronary artery disease, and heart attack is a frequent cause of death in patients who have suffered this type of brain attack.
 
Small Vessel Disease/Lacunar
Infarction Small vessel disease, or lacunar infarction, occurs when blood flow is blocked to a very small arterial vessel. The term's origin is from the Latin word lacuna which means hole, and describes the small cavity remaining after the products of deep infarct have been removed by other cells in the body. Little is known about the causes of small vessel disease, but it is closely linked to hypertension (high blood pressure).
 
Hemorrhagic
Stroke
 Strokes caused by the breakage or "blowout" of a blood vessel in the brain are called hemorrhagic strokes. The medical word for this type of breakage is hemorrhage. Hemorrhages can be caused by a number of disorders which affect the blood vessels, including long-standing high blood pressure and cerebral aneurysms. An aneurysm is a weak or thin spot on a blood vessel wall. These weak spots are usually present at birth. Aneurisms develop over a number of years and usually don't cause detectable problems until they break. There are two types of hemorrhagic stroke subarachnoid and intracerebral.
 
In an intracerbral hemmorrhage, bleeding occurs from vessels within the brain itself. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the primary cause of this type of hemorrhage.
 
In a subarachnoid hemmorrhage(SAH), an aneurism bursts in a large artery on or near the thin, delicate membrane surrounding the brain. Blood spills into the area around the brain which is filled with a protective fluid,causing the brain to be surrounded by blood-contaminated fluid.

Stroke Risk Factors

Anyone can have a stroke no matter your age, race or gender. But, the chances of having a stroke increase if a person has certain risk factors, or criteria that can cause a stroke. The good news is that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented, and the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from stroke is to understand personal risk and how to manage it.

There are 2 types of risk factors for stroke: controllable and uncontrollableControllable risk factors generally fall into two categories: lifestyle risk factors or medical risk factors. Lifestyle risk factors can often be changed, while medical risk factors can usually be treated. Both types can be managed best by working with a doctor, who can prescribe medications and advise on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Uncontrollable risk factors include being over age 55, being male, being African American, Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander, or having a family history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

To become more familiar with your personal risk for stroke, National Stroke Association developed an easy-to-use tool called a Stroke Risk Scorecard. The Scorecard provides an idea of a person's stroke risk. Once the scorecard is completed, discuss the results with a doctor, who will help assess the risk factors and help manage and/or treat any controllable risk factors. Remember: It is important to always take medications as a doctor prescribes to stay on top of stroke prevention.

Controllable Risk Factors:

•  High Blood Pressure

•  Atrial Fibrillation

•  High Cholesterol

•  Diabetes

•  Atherosclerosis

•  Circulation Problems

•  Tobacco Use and Smoking

•  Alcohol Use

•  Physical Inactivity

•  Obesity

 

Uncontrollable Risk Factors:

•  Age

•  Gender

•  Race

•  Family History

•  Previous Stroke or TIA

•  Fibromuscular Dysplasia

•  Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO or Hole in the Heart)

Stroke Myths

Myth: Stroke is unpreventable
Reality: Stroke is largely preventable

Myth: Stroke cannot be treated                                                                                
Reality: Stroke requires emergency treatment
 
Myth: Stroke only strikes the elderly
Reality: Stroke can happen to anyone

Myth: Stroke happens to the heart
Reality: Stroke is a "Brain Attack"
 
Myth: Stroke recovery only happens for a few months following a stroke
Reality: Stroke recovery continues throughout life
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