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Acadiana Lifestyle

Health Notes: Brain Attacks

03/11/2014 10:00AM ● By Aimee Cormier
By Ellen S. Mullen M.D.

Everyone has heard of the term “heart attack”. This is a condition where the heart muscle gets decreased blood supply because of clogged blood vessels. A similar condition can occur in the brain and is referred to as a “brain attack” or a stroke. 
    This condition occurs when the brain does not get the blood supply it needs. When this happens your brain can be damaged and the area that this part of the brain controls may not work properly. In other words you may lose partial or complete function of an arm or leg permanently or temporarily. 

    If a person recognizes the symptoms of a “brain attack” and gets treated quickly there may be less brain cells that are damaged. So what are the warning signs of a stroke? 

–Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body.

–Sudden dimness or loss of vision particularly in one eye.

–Loss of speech, trouble talking or understanding what others are saying.

–Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

–Unexplained dizziness, unstable walking or falling.

    Another warning sign is called a TIA or a mini-stroke.  In this case the symptoms mentioned above may only last a few minutes but should not be ignored. 

    If you or someone you know ever has any of the following symptoms you should call your doctor or 911 immediately.  Once brains cells are damaged they can never be restored.  Don’t wait if you have these symptoms.  Get care immediately.

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