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Stroke Diagnosis & Treatment

Understanding Stroke

A stroke is a sudden interruption of blood flow to your brain. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death and the number one cause of disability

Strokes often give early warning signs, which, if recognized and treated properly, can reduce the potential for damage or another stroke. It is important to know the warning signs and seek treatment immediately by calling 911.

Common Types of Stroke

  • Cerebral hemorrhage – blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain tissue
  • Cerebral thrombosis – blood flow is blocked by a clot (thrombus) in a narrowed artery
  • Cerebral aneurysm – blood-filled pouch that balloons out from a weak spot in the artery wall
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke”-About 20% of patients who have a TIA and receive no treatment will have a major stroke within a year. This is why it is important to diagnose stroke symptoms right away.

Diagnosing a Stroke

A physician may use one of the following tests to determine if you are having a TIA or a stroke. These tests may also be used to assess the amount of brain damage after a stroke or to determine your risk of having another.

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Cerebral angiography
  • Carotid ultrasound
  • Transcranial Doppler

Treatment

MidMichigan offers comprehensive stroke services, including:

  • Stroke risk assessment and screening
  • Advice on reducing your risk through medication and diet
  • Emergency treatment, such as:
    • Medication to dissolve blood clots that are blocking the flow of blood to the brain.
    • Carotid endarterectomy surgery to reduce the risk of stroke or prevent another stroke. 
  • A neuroscience nurse practitioner who closely monitors stroke patients and serves as a "patient navigator" to connect patients and their families to specialists and support

Stroke Rehabilitation

Many patients who suffer a stroke have some type of disability as a result. MidMichigan offers specialized stroke rehabilitation to help patients overcome the physical, mental and emotional impacts of stroke and regain their independence. It is important to begin rehabilitation as soon as possible after a stroke, since most functional improvement occurs in the first three to six months of rehabilitation.

Reducing Your Risk of Stroke

Some factors that increase your risk for stroke -- such as age, gender, race, or family history – are out of your control. However, you can reduce your risk of stroke by working with your doctor to bring these factors under control:

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol levels
  • heart disease
  • smoking, heavy drinking
  • family history of stroke
  • diabetes and physical inactivity