Stroke is still one of the leading causes of death.Even if it is not always fatal, it can lead to serious consequences for those affected. Often, the cause of such brain infarction is a sudden circulatory disturbance, often as a result of arteriosclerosis that has developed over the years . Here are the symptoms of stroke and how it is diagnosed and treated. In addition, we explain which risk factors favor the development of a stroke and how you can prevent such a seizure

Stroke: infarct out of the blue

Stroke is a very common disease in the western industrial nations – it is in second place worldwide, in Germany after heart disease and malignant tumors in third place of the causes of death. Stroke often leads to permanent disability or premature disability.

Every year, about 200,000 to 250,000 Germans suffer stroke for the first time or again, and about one million Germans live with their consequences. More than 50 percent of sufferers still suffer from restrictions in everyday life a year after the stroke. Men and women are about equally affected. The probability of a stroke increases with age. At the first stroke women are around 75 years, men on average 70 years old.

Sudden dysfunctions of the central nervous system are caused by a lack of blood flow in the brain. Symptoms depend on affected brain regions – hemiparesis, gait, vision or speech disorders are common. Other common names for a stroke are “stroke” and – in technical terms – “Apoplexia cerebri”, “apoplexy” or “cerebral insult”.

strock man

Stroke – causes and risk factors

No matter which of the possible causes underlie: In principle, a stroke results from a mismatch between blood and oxygen supply and demand. The brain is very active, which makes it very sensitive to hypoxia. After just a few minutes, brain tissue is destroyed. Then there are corresponding, often irreparable failures.

Stroke: common causes

Clearly the most common cause is sudden circulatory disorders – mainly due to a reduced blood flow in too narrow cerebral vessels, but also as a result of a hemorrhage into the tissue. Other causes of stroke include injuries, brain inflammation or tumors.

Cause of acute hypoperfusion is – similar to a heart attack – usually a vascular occlusion as a result of many years of progressive atherosclerosis. This is also known as ischemic cerebral infarction . Due to deposits on the inner walls of the vessels, these become ever narrower, it gets less and less blood in the brain areas and the blood flows more slowly. Therefore, more clots form, which then completely occlude the vessel (thrombosis), or the deposits dissolve small particles which are flushed with the bloodstream and also lead to occlusion (embolism).

Risk factors for a stroke

In addition, lead in such a pre-damaged vessels and blood pressure drops to supply difficulties, since not enough blood passes through our narrow arterial routes. In about 15-20% of all cases, the sudden rupture of a vessel leads to bleeding and consequently to tissue loss and its symptoms. This form of stroke is referred to as intracerebral mass haemorrhage .

The risk of a stroke is increased by all factors that also favor arteriosclerosis: especially high blood pressure , but also increased blood lipid levels, diabetes , smoking, high alcohol consumption, obesity, lack of exercise and oral contraceptive pill. In addition, atrial fibrillation is also a known risk factor. In addition, hereditary susceptibility also plays a role – in addition to age, the only factor that can not be influenced.


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