A stroke can be devastating for the patient. Caused by either a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or a ruptured blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke), a stroke disrupts the blood flow to the brain, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Without enough oxygen, which is carried by the blood, brain cells die. The stroke can start as a severe headache, which gets worse when changing positions; the headache can also awake the patient, and occur when she is lying down. Other symptoms of a stroke include tingling, muscle weakness, personality changes, eyesight problems, sensation changes and unconsciousness.
The prognosis depends on treatment: the faster the patient receives medical attention, the less brain damage she experiences. Some of the possible injury to the brain can severely limit the patient's ability. The Mayo Clinic notes that complications of a stroke include paralysis, problems swallowing or talking, pain and memory loss. The NIH adds that the patient may breathe food into her airway, a condition called aspiration. Other complications include decreased life span, loss of brain function, malnutrition, fractures from falling during the stroke and problems taking care of self.
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