If the artery remains blocked for more than a few minutes, the brain cells may die. This is why immediate medical treatment is critical.
Ischemic Stroke Symptoms
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially involving one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
Loss of vision in one or both eyes
Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
What causes it?
Ischemic stroke can be caused by several different kinds of diseases. The most common problem is narrowing of the arteries in the neck or head. This is most often caused by atherosclerosis, or gradual cholesterol deposition. If the arteries become too narrow, blood cells may collect and form blood clots. These blood clots can block the artery where they are formed (thrombosis), or can dislodge and become trapped in arteries closer to the brain (embolism). Another cause of stroke is blood clots in the heart, which can occur as a result of irregular heartbeat (for example, atrial fibrillation), heart attack, or abnormalities of the heart valves. While these are the most common causes of ischemic stroke, there are many other possible causes. Examples include use of street drugs, traumatic injury to the blood vessels of the neck, or disorders of blood clotting.
Emergency treatment for ischemic stroke
Ischemic strokes are the most common kind of stroke and occur when a blood clot blocks blood flow to your brain. Treatment for this type of stroke must start within 4.5 hours of the event and aims to break up the blood clot that’s blocking or disrupting blood flow in the brain.
Doctors often use aspirin in the treatment of strokes. Aspirin thins your blood and can help get blood to the affected area. Be sure to tell your doctor if you’re already taking aspirin for heart disease or other conditions.
Your doctor may also administer drugs to break up clots. A common intravenous drug, tissue plasminogen activator is given during an active stroke if the person is a good candidate. This medication can dissolve the clot that’s causing the stroke in order to stop it. After a stroke, your doctor may prescribe oral drugs, such as clopidogrel or warfarin. These are used to thin your blood in order to reduce the risk of stroke in the future. Statins have also been shown to reduce the incidence of future stroke.
If drugs don’t adequately break up the blood clot and if the stroke is acute, or localized to one area, your doctor may use a catheter to access the clot and remove it manually. The catheter is threaded through your blood vessels toward the area where the clot is lodged. Your doctor can remove the clot either by a corkscrew-like device attached to the catheter or by using clot-busting agents administered through the catheter directly into the clot.
A large stroke can lead to serious swelling in the brain. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary if drugs don’t adequately relieve the swelling. Decompressive craniotomy aims to relieve and prevent the buildup of pressure inside of your skull before it becomes dangerous. For the procedure, your surgeon will open up a flap of bone in your skull in the area of the swelling. Once the pressure is relieved, typically the flap will be returned.
Article Source: humanhealth.com