This is the brain CT scan of a patient with a hemorrhagic stroke. That large white area is new blood.
Stroke is the number three cause of death and a leading cause of long term disability in the United States. Blood carries oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to our brains. Blood flow to a part of the brain stops if a blood vessel gets clogged. This causes an ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke. Blood flow can also be disrupted if a blood vessel ruptures in or near the brain. This causes bleeding into the brain which damages the brain cells. This is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. In both types of stroke the brain cells in the damaged area stop functioning. Some cells die. Products released from the dead cells cause brain swelling, edema. This leads to more brain damage. Parts of the body controlled by the injured or dead nerve cells stop working. The effects of a stroke can be devastating and are often permanent.
My patient had a hemorrhagic stroke. Fifteen to 30 % of all strokes are hemorrhagic. The patients tend to be younger. They are less likely to have a good recovery and are more likely to die.
If you think it can’t happen to you, think again. The best way to deal with strokes is to avoid them. How do you do that? Step 1 is to eat a brain healthy diet. Fifteen percent of what you eat feeds your brain. Eat healthfully and your brain will function optimally. You will decrease your risks of having a stroke and of developing dementia.
AB Fraser, MD