What happend to the brain when a stroke occurs?
Brain cells suddenly die because of a lack of oxygen. This can be caused by an obstruction in the blood flow, or the rupture of an artery that feeds the brain. The patient may suddenly lose the ability to speak, there may be memory problems, or one side of the body can become paralyzed.
Three types of stroke:
First is Ischemic stroke that accounts for about three-quarters of all strokes. Occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, forms that blocks blood flow to part of the brain. If a blood clot forms somewhere in the body and breaks off to become free-floating, it is called an embolus. This wandering clot may be carried through the bloodstream to the brain where it can cause ischemic stroke.
Second is a Hemorrhagic stroke that occurs when a blood vessel on the brain's surface ruptures and fills the space between the brain and skull with blood called subarachnoid hemorrhage or when a defective artery in the brain bursts and fills the surrounding tissue with blood called cerebral hemorrhage.
Third is Transient Ischemic Strokes (TIA) that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery for a short time. TIAs may occur days, weeks or months before the onset of a stroke. The symptoms of a TIA are like the warning signs of a stroke, but they usually last only a few minutes. TIAs are strong predictors of stroke risk. Don’t ignore them. Call 9-1-1 or seek emergency medical attention immediately.
What disabilities can result from a stroke?
It depends on where the stroke occurs and how much of the brain is affected. Smaller strokes such as TIA may result in minor problems, such as weakness in an arm or leg. Larger strokes such as Ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes may lead to paralysis or death. Many stroke patients are left with weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, incontinence, and bladder problems.
Who is most likely to have stroke?
- People over age 55
- African American, Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander
- A family history of stroke
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Smoking cigarettes
- Obesity and overweight
- Cardiovascular disease
- A previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- High levels of homocysteine (an amino acid in blood)
- Birth control use or other hormone therapy
- Cocaine use
- Heavy use of alcohol - heavy regular drinkers have a considerably higher risk of stroke early in life compared to others.
- Men from divorced families have a higher chance of suffering a stroke than those from families which are still intact
What is brain plasticity and what does it mean in terms of recovering from a stroke?
All of these ailments are treated through speech and language therapy. Brain plasticity makes improvements in communication skill. This distinctive trait makes the brain a very valuable organ, as it can constantly adapt itself to deal with new input and information. There are two different types of brain plasticity:
The First type is Functional Plasticity that occurs when infants are born and start developing into children. Studies have shown that the immature brain grows and creates neural networks at an unprecedented rate, as the brain is flooded with new sensory input from the outside world.
The second type is Structural Plasticity that occurs over the course of a lifetime, as the brain changes with age to reflect new experiences and events as a result of learning.
How does Brain Plasticity Work?
Plasticity refers to the brain's ability to repair and reorganize cells. This means having healthy cells of the brain taking over jobs that were previously carried out by brain cells which were destroyed.
This is done by sprouting of new synaptic connections and creating new pathways to unaffected parts of the brain.
The brain's plasticity appears to be greatest when we are young. You can probably recall how much easier it was to learn, such as a foreign language or a musical instrument, when you were younger.
Of course our ability to learn new skills continues as we become adults. This indicates that the brain retains a certain level of plasticity throughout our lives.
When neurons, the primary cells of the nervous system, are damaged by a stroke or brain injury, other neurons take over for them. This adaptive behavior allows us to reorganize the brain in an effort to recover lost skills.