Heart Disease Symptoms Stroke

A stroke happens when the blood supply to any part of the brain is blocked or disrupted, and the brain tissue supplied by that blood becomes starved of oxygen. If the blockage goes unnoticed or untreated, the cells and tissue of that area may die.

Heart attack and stroke symptoms can happen for similar reasons, and because they stem from problems with blood supply and blood flow, they can both be serious complications of heart disease.

Stroke Symptoms

Stroke symptoms for men and stroke symptoms for women are similar. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the symptoms below in yourself or someone else. In the case of a stroke, every minute counts, so immediate action is crucial. Try to remember exactly when the stroke symptoms began, since their duration may affect treatment decisions.

Stroke symptoms in women and men may include:

  • Balance and coordination problems or trouble walking
  • Confusion or slurred speech
  • Headache, vomiting or dizziness
  • Paralysis or numbness on one side of the body or face (Raise both arms above your head; if one arm begins to drop, this may suggest a stroke. Stroke symptoms may also include lopsided facial expressions.)
  • Trouble seeing with one or both eyes, including blurred, blackened or double vision.

Stroke Diagnosis and Treatment

A medical exam may take place before treatment can begin in order to rule out the possibility of a brain tumor or a drug reaction. A full diagnostic evaluation for stroke may include an MRI, a CT scan or an echocardiogram, a form of ultrasound in which a doctor examines your heart to see if a blood clot may have traveled from your heart to your brain.

As with a heart attack, treatment for stroke symptoms may involve medication to thin the blood or remove clots. Treatment may also include surgical procedures to repair blocked or damaged blood vessels. The medication administered to a stroke patient depends on whether the stroke is caused by a blockage (ischemic stroke, the most common form), or a broken blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).

Risk Factors for Stroke

With quick recognition of stroke signs, followed by early action and prompt treatment, brain tissue damage and disability can be minimized. Fewer people are dying of strokes now than fifteen years ago, and much of this is due to early intervention and recognition of stroke symptoms in men and women.

Risk factors for heart attack and many forms of heart disease can also increase the risk of stroke. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Risk can be managed through smoking cessation programs, regular exercise and a healthy diet low in saturated fat and sodium. You may also benefit by controlling your blood sugar if you have diabetes. Your risk of stroke increases if you have had a previous stroke, if you are over age 55 or if strokes have occurred in your family history.

Resources

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Stroke basics. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150

Medline Plus. (2010). Stroke. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000726.htm

National Stroke Association. (2010). Stroke 101 fact sheet. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www.stroke.org/site/DocServer/STROKE_101_Fact_Sheet.pdf?docID=4541