A brain ischemia is a type of stroke that occurs when there is an interruption of blood flow to part of the brain. When this occurs due to a blockage, it can cause death of the brain tissue, as well as loss of certain brain functions. The longer the problem persists the more damaging the brain ischemia will be. Atherosclerosis is one of the most common causes of brain ischemia. This has the potential to cause blood clots to form in the brain or to travel to the brain from another location, such as an artery. When the clot travels to the brain, it begins to cause damage immediately. Those who have diabetes are at a risk of developing brain ischemia as well, or they could result from an embolism.
This type of stroke can occur at any time. The patient could be at rest or sleeping, or engaging in a vigorous activity. In some cases, the person may lose consciousness when they have the stroke. Other times, they may remain conscious through the entire episode.
What Are the Symptoms?
Those who are in the throes of brain ischemia will suffer from a wide range of different symptoms. These may vary slightly between patients, but they tend to match up well from patient to patient. The most common symptoms include loss of movement in any area of the body, often on just one side of the body. The patient may also suffer from weakness, decreased sensation or numbness in parts of the body, or tingling. The patient may also have trouble speaking clearly and swallowing, as well as loss of memory and loss of coordination. Vertigo, loss of consciousness and urinary incontinence are other potential symptoms that those suffering from brain ischemia may experience.
Even when a patient presents these symptoms, the doctors need to make sure that it is not another condition that could be mimicking brain ischemia, such as a swollen brain. They will utilize a number of different types of tests to give the patient including CT scans, MRIs, electrocardiograms, ultrasounds, and more to determine the exact cause and severity of the problem.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
Doctors can prescribe different medications that can help to restore the blood flow to areas of the brain. However, some of the medicine is controversial as it can cause an elevated risk of bleeding. In some cases, surgery may be a proper course of action to help remove blood clots from the brain.
Preventing Brain Ischemia
Prevention of stroke includes trying to control the risk factors that lead to the condition in the first place. Some of the most common methods of prevention include taking active measures to improve overall health such as dieting, exercising, and quitting smoking and drinking. Patients who develop difficulty swallowing may need to use an IV tube or feeding tube in the stomach. In some cases, the swallowing difficulties will be temporary, but they can be permanent as well.
Long-term treatment is generally necessary for those who have suffered from brain ischemia as well. They include physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other therapies that can help to prevent other potential complications resulting from brain ischemia. Some of the complications that can arise after a brain ischemia include bone fractures from falling, permanent loss of movement, pressure sores developed because of the lack of movement, malnutrition, and a decreased lifespan.
A stroke, or brain ischemia, is a serious condition that can change a person’s life permanently. Patients should seek immediate medical help when they fear a stroke to help reduce the potential for permanent damage.