What Happens During a Stroke

The brain is one of the most important organs in your body. It enables you to recall your favorite memories, process your emotions, and execute commands to your hands, arms, and legs. Your brain also relies on a steady flow of blood to function properly. When you suffer from a stroke, your brain may sustain damage, affecting the way you speak and use the rest of your body. Fortunately, the advanced technology at imaging centers can identify the effects of a stroke and contribute to a treatment plan so you can begin to recover.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke is a neurological event that occurs when blood fails to travel to a part of the brain. It prevents brain cells from receiving oxygenated blood, which causes them to die and creates permanent or momentary damage. People who receive immediate medical attention have stronger chances of minimizing damage to their nervous systems. There are different types of strokes that humans can experience: an ischemic or a hemorrhagic stroke.

During an ischemic stroke, a blood clot materializes in the cerebral artery and interferes with the brain's blood flow. The clot can form in a different area of the body, and stops a vessel from giving blood to the brain, triggering a cerebral embolism. An air bubble can also obstruct the path of the blood throughout the brain. A clogged artery is another cause of an ischemic stroke. When plaque accumulates in the blood vessels, it makes it more difficult for blood to travel smoothly.

A hemorrhagic stroke stems from weak arteries. When the inner structure of the blood vessel is not strong enough, blood seeps out into the brain and produces swelling, causing a hemorrhage. With the increase in pressure, the brain cells and tissue are unable to function properly. Patients may also experience a mini-stroke, or transient ischemic attack, which delivers common signs of a stroke for a brief period of time and can represent that a stroke is imminent. It can be the result of a clot that becomes trapped in the passage of blood flow.

What Happens During a Stroke?

A stroke impacts different areas of the brain, which influences the types of symptoms that people experience. Some people may not even realize that they've suffered from a stroke. The signs can emerge unexpectedly and can be prevalent in all parts of the body. Here's a list of examples of the areas that may lose functionality when a stroke occurs:

  • Head. When there's a pool of blood in your brain from a hemorrhage, you may feel intense pressure inside your head, causing a serious headache.
  • Face and limbs. Numbness may prevent you from moving parts of your face and bending your arms and legs. You may notice that the loss of feeling and weakness is limited to one side of your body.
  • Vision. Your vision may blur, affecting the way you see objects in front of you. A stroke can create a loss of vision in one or both of your eyes.
  • Coordination. If you attempt to walk after a stroke, you may find it hard to maintain your balance, especially if you feel numb or weak in your arms and legs. You may also feel lightheaded.
  • Memory. A blood hemorrhage can damage the part of your brain that stores memories, making it challenging for you to remember moments you experienced in the past.

Once a stroke occurs, it's urgent that you seek emergency medical treatment. The sooner the medication can restore normal blood flow to your brain and fix ruptured arteries, the more likely you can regain feeling in your body and reverse the symptoms you experienced. Your recovery can depend on the severity of the stroke and the time your brain spent with a hemorrhage or blood clot. For example, slurred speech and lack of coordination may be temporary for a minor stroke but permanent if the condition targets parts of your brain more intensely.

How Does an Imaging Center Diagnose a Stroke?

A health care professional develops a treatment plan based on the type of stroke that the patient experiences. The technology at an imaging center captures photos of the brain, offering a detailed view of the blood vessels, tissue, and cells. The images lead to a diagnosis and help determine if the brain damage stemmed from an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. For example, if the brain appears swollen from a hemorrhage, the screening procedures may show excessive bleeding. If clogged arteries caused the stroke, the images may show that there are formations on the blood vessels.

To examine the effects of a stroke, imaging centers often perform two types of diagnostic tests: a computed tomography (CT) scan and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure. The CT scan collects X-rays of your brain to help identify a blood clot or detect an artery that burst. The physician may also administer a contrasting fluid to distinguish certain areas in the brain. An MRI of the head takes photos of the inside of the organ. Using MR angiography (MRA) and MR perfusion (MRP), the physician can see how the stroke disrupted the passage of blood flow to the brain.

The results from a CT scan or MRI enable the physician to assign rehabilitation to the patient to help them recover from the stroke. Once the health care team understands what led to the event, they can recommend ways to prevent a stroke from happening in the future. For instance, doctors may tell patients to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. They may also administer medications to treat other medical conditions that can lead to strokes, including diabetes and heart disease.

At Grapevine Imaging, we provide MRIs, CT scans, and X-ray services to our patients. Our staff of experienced professionals cater to patients' needs throughout the procedures and deliver prompt results to physicians. Call us today to schedule an appointment. Ahead of your visit, check out our website to learn what you can do to prepare.

2401 Ira E. Woods Ave, #600
Grapevine, TX 76051

(817) 488-9991