Stroke is the general term used for blood flow disruption to the brain. Continuous blood flow is extremely important as it delivers oxygen, and nutrients, and carries waste away from cells of the brain and throughout the body. Brain cells are especially susceptible to damage from interrupted blood flow- dying within minutes if oxygen is not available. Other tissues in the body can handle slightly longer lapses without oxygen, but not by much. The brain and heart are the most delicate organs when it comes to oxygen deprivation because they are so central to all of our functioning. Symptoms of stroke might be one or several of the following. Always err on the side of caution if one of these things occurs, and get to an emergency room as soon as possible. Even seconds count where a stroke is concerned. Symptoms of a stroke are:

  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty understanding speech
  • Numbness or paralysis of one side of the body or face
  • Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
  • Headache (sudden, head-splitting, unexplained)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Altered mental status
  • Loss of consciousness

Complications from a stroke can be: 

  • Partial or total paralysis
  • Difficulty with motor tasks and/or speech
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Ongoing pain or numbness

90% of strokes fall into the category of ischemic strokes, meaning they are caused by a blood clot (of brain origin or from elsewhere in the body) occluding an artery or a cholesterol plaque occluding an artery. Hemorrhagic is another type of stroke. this is when an artery or vein leaks or bursts. This can happen due to high blood pressure, or aneurysms (weakened areas of blood vessel walls). Transient ischemic attacks (TIA) are another type of stroke.  these are also termed “mini-strokes” because the disruption of blood flow is temporary and restored, usually without any lasting physiological damage to the victim. TIA, however, should be taken as a very serious warning that a possible full ischemic stroke is impending.  If something is causing a person to have blood flow disruptions to the brain, then the problem cannot be taken lightly. Blood thinners and clot-busting medications will likely be started for someone who has had TIA.

Risk factors for increasing one’s chance of having a stroke are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart  disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol or existing arterial plaques
  • Age 55+
  • Overweight
  • Oral contraceptive use
  • Alcoholism
  • Illicit drug use

Strokes are one of the most commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions- and it is unfortunately not one that time can be spared with. Misdiagnosing, or failing to diagnose a stroke can mean permanent paralysis or death for the victim. If you or a loved one suffered a worsening condition or death after a stroke misdiagnosis, you may be eligible for damages. Let the experts at the Sweeney Law Firm review the facts to see if you have a medical malpractice case. There is no fee for representation unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds for you.

Related articles are also on this site: Horner's syndrome, medial medullary syndrome, and lateral medullary syndrome.