Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke. That’s about 800,000 strokes per year. Strokes can range from mild, causing little if any disability, to severe, leading to the older adult needing help with nearly everything they do. If your aging relative has had a stroke, you may be wondering why it happened.
General Information About Stroke
Strokes are sometimes also caused “brain attacks” because they resemble what happens in the heart during a heart attack. They happen when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or cut off. This causes brain tissue to die because they don’t have enough oxygen. The areas of the body affected by the stroke are determined by which parts of the brain have been damaged.
There are different kinds of strokes, but the most common is ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes account for about 80 percent of all strokes. The other main types of stroke are hemorrhagic stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA).
The cause of a stroke depends on what kind of stroke the senior had. Ischemic strokes occur when arteries that deliver blood to the brain are blocked or narrowed.
There are two kinds of ischemic strokes:
Embolic: In this kind, a clot develops in another part of the body, but moves through the bloodstream and gets stuck in one of the brain’s arteries. Doctors call this kind of clot an embolus.
Thrombotic: Thrombotic strokes happen when a clot forms in one of the brain’s arteries. The clot can be plaque, which are fatty deposits that stick to the walls of arteries, or by an arterial condition, like atherosclerosis.
Other types of strokes:
Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain breaks, causing a bleed, or hemorrhage. A hemorrhagic stroke can be caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, overuse of anticoagulant drugs, or areas of the blood vessel that are weak.
A TIA is also called a “mini stroke.” They cause temporary symptoms because of clots that interrupt blood flow but resolve themselves. Although they don’t cause lasting damage, it’s important to take them seriously. They are a warning that something is wrong, and a more serious stroke could be coming.
Home health care can help older adults who have had a stroke to continue living at home. Home health care providers can assist them to move from place to place, whether by walking with them or pushing their wheelchair. Home health care providers can transfer older adults from a wheelchair to another surface, such as the toilet or bed. Home health care also offers services like light house cleaning, cooking and eating assistance, dressing, and bathing.