August 2014

Ischemic Stroke

Ischemic Stroke

A stroke can be caused by ischemia or inability to obtain necessary amounts of oxygen for the needs of the brain tissues. More than 63% of all strokes are ischemic strokes This is usually caused by narrowing or blockage of a major or smaller crucial artery in the brain. The most common reason for this is atherosclerosis. However, it can also be caused by a blood clot within the artery itself.

Atherosclerosis, caused the deposition of LDL-Cholesterol and other fatty substances, gradually narrows the diameter of the artery reducing the flow of blood, increasing the internal blood pressure and causing weakening of the arteries themselves. As these vessels become obstructed less oxygenated blood is available to the tissues that this particular artery supplies.

With time the build up of cholesterol plaque can entirely block the passage of blood through the artery and there is a sudden blockage of oxygenated blood leading to death of the surrounding brain tissues. In many cases the build up of atherosclerosis narrows the arterial vessel so much that blood has difficulty flowing and blood tissues may slowly form a clot or may form a sudden clot completely blocking the passage way. Strokes which occur by this mechanism are generally referred to as a cerebral thrombosis.

Nearly one-third of all stroke patients have a different mechanism. In these people a small blood clot may form in a larger vessel and then because of the higher pressure of the blood moving this vessel break loose and travel until it lodges in a smaller vessel. This process is called embolism. Once the clot lodges in the smaller vessel it cuts off blood flow and circulation to the area of the brain which this vessel supplies. This process is referred to as thrombosis. The combined process of forming a clot, its breaking loose and traveling to another area is often referred to as a thromboembolus.

Atherosclerosis, while commonly considered as part of the aging process may in fact be a nutritional deficiency situation. The fact that atherosclerosis more commonly affects elderly people only tells us that this process takes years to occur. We also know that people with high cholesterol diet are more likely to have a stroke and hence we have our first real connection to a nutritional origin.

Emboli can also come directly from the heart or the carotid artery the main artery to the brain. When a thrombus forms during a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Emboli can also come from heart valves in people who have had rheumatic fever, because of irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) or from thromboemboli formed during heart surgery.

 

Treatment

Removal of a thromboemboli involving the carotid artery often requires a surgical procedure called endarterectomy, the surgical excision of the cholesterol plaque from the involved artery. In other cases a bypass procedure may be necessary and a piece of vein is used to bypass the blocked artery. Anticoagulants, diet, anaerobic exercises and reduction of stress are extremely important. In recent years many physicians have been prescribing two aspirins twice a day for prevention. Once stable physician therapy and prevention are most important

To Learn About Hemorrhagic Strokes.