Stroke - Medical Negligence Lawyers – Compensation Claims

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You succumb to a stroke whenever the blood supply to an aspect of your brain is disrupted or reduced so that brain tissue is deprived of the nutrients and oxygen it must have to survive. Brain cells begin to die within minutes after being starved of oxygen. Strokes didn’t used to be a medical emergency but now they are because there can be intervention that can minimize damage to the brain and reduce complications. This newer treatment means that fewer people die of a stroke than fifteen years ago.

The main signs and symptoms of a stroke include the following. Pay attention to when you first developed these symptoms:

  • Difficulty walking. This includes stumbling behavior as well as dizziness and a loss of coordination and balance.
  • Difficulty speaking. This includes dysarthria, which is difficulty getting the words out and trouble speaking as well as inability to understand the spoken word.
  • Paralysis of an arm and leg on the same side or just one extremity. It would be unusual to involve both legs or both arms. This is associated with numbness of the same extremities. One side of the mouth may droop with a stroke.
  • Blurry or blackened vision in one or both eyes. You can also experience double vision.
  • Having a sudden severe headache associated with nausea and vomiting, lowered level of consciousness, or vertigo.

You should seek medical attention right away if you have any of the signs and symptoms of a stroke, even if the symptoms seem to come and go. Call 911 because there is a finite period of time in which adequate treatment can be given. The longer you let a stroke go, the more chances there are for disability and brain damage. Get to the hospital for treatment within three hours of when the symptoms first appeared.

There are two main types of stroke. The most common kind is the result of a blocked artery and is called an ischemic stroke. The second kind happens when a blood vessel bleeds and is called a hemorrhagic stroke. There can be a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain in a condition called a transient ischemic attack or TIA.

Eighty five percent of strokes are considered ischemic strokes and are caused by blockages or narrowing of the arteries to the brain. This can include an embolic stroke, in which a clot from somewhere else in the body travels to an artery leading to the brain and blocks the artery. A thrombotic stroke happens when there is a blood clot that forms in an artery leading to the brain.

A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel within the brain ruptures or leaks blood into the brain. It is not a common type of stroke. It can be caused by very high blood pressure along with weakened areas in the brain such as aneurysms. Hemorrhagic strokes come in several types, including the following:

  • Intracerebral hemorrhage. This is when a blood vessel within the brain bursts and spills blood into brain tissue. Brain cells past the leak suffer from a lack of oxygen and brain damage happens. It is due to high blood pressure, vascular malformations, trauma and using blood thinning medications.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage. This happens when an artery near the surface of the brain spills blood into the space between the brain and the skull. The result is a severe headache and other symptoms. It is often caused by having an aneurysm rupture and by the secondary vasospasm around the aneurysm.

A transient ischemic attack or TIA is a mini-stroke that lasts just a few minutes or so. The symptoms are exactly like having a stroke but they don’t last more than five minutes. It happens when a blood clot or debris in the arterial system block flow of blood to the brain. The blockage doesn’t last long and there is no lasting damage. The problem is that many people go on to have a stroke after their TIA so you should seek medical attention so that the chances of having a completed stroke are less.

There are things that can increase your risk of having a stroke. They are similar to your risks of having a heart attack and include the following:

  • Having metabolic syndrome
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Being physically inactive
  • Being a heavy drinker of alcohol
  • Using drugs like methamphetamines or cocaine
  • Having a blood pressure of greater than 120/80
  • Having diabetes
  • Being exposed to secondhand smoke or smoking yourself
  • Having a high cholesterol
  • Suffering from obstructive sleep apnea
  • Having heart disease such as heart failure, atrial fibrillation, valvular deformities or other heart defects
  • Having a family or personal history of having a heart attack, a TIA or a previous stroke
  • Being older than 55 years of age
  • Being African American
  • Being male. Women tend to have their strokes later in life but are more likely to die from their stroke.
  • Taking birth control pills or other hormone therapies

Strokes can lead to permanent or sometimes temporary disabilities, depending on how long the brain has suffered a lack of oxygen and where the brain was injured. Complications include paralysis on one side of the body along with numbness of the same extremities. Physical therapy can improve some aspects of this disability. You can have problems understanding speech, speaking words, or swallowing. Your muscles of your throat and mouth are affected by strokes. Dysphagia is a difficulty in eating that can come out of having a stroke.

Memory and thought processes are affected by strokes. Judgment and reasoning can become impaired. There can be difficulty controlling one’s emotions and there can be depression. Chronic pain can happen after a stroke along with strange sensations felt in the body in the extremities affected by the stroke. Tingling is possible after a stroke. There can be changes in a person’s behavior and in his or her ability to care for themselves. They may neglect parts of their body.

Strokes must be treated within three hours of onset. The mainstay of treatment of stroke is prompt delivery of tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), which is a clot buster that breaks up the clot in ischemic strokes. There is considerably less brain damage when this medication is given. The individual is placed on blood thinners like warfarin after that.

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