What is a cerebral infarction?
A stroke (cerebral infarction, Cerebrovascular accident (CVA), seizure, apoplexy) results from an interruption in the blood supply to a part of the brain. The underlying brain tissue no longer receives enough oxygen and that part of the brain can die. An interruption in blood supply can be caused by bleeding in or around the brain (cerebral haemorrhage), a clot blocking a ‘calcified’ artery (brain thrombosis), or a blood clot from elsewhere in the body that eventually blocks an artery in the brain (brain embolism).
What causes cerebral infarction?
High blood pressure constitutes a major risk factor for a stroke (or infarction). Smoking is a very high risk factor. The consequences of infarction depend on where the infarction occurs in the brain. Each part of the brain has a ‘control centre’ for specific bodily functions, emotions and feelings. Physical consequences such as (one sided) paralysis can occur, as well as consequences of a less visible nature such as forgetfulness, speech disorders, depression and behavioural changes.
Symptoms related to cerebral infarction
A stroke or cerebral infarction can sometimes be recognised by certain signs. They are the result of a temporary oxygen deficiency in the brain, which is later restored. These are called transient ischaemic attacks (TIA). A TIA always comes on suddenly, often lasts less than twenty minutes and its symptoms usually disappear completely within hours.
Nowadays, people are more careful about the use of the term TIA. If the symptoms do not disappear within one or two hours, it might still be a ‘real’ stroke. So it is important to always take these signs very seriously.
If any of the afore-mentioned symptoms occur, always call your doctor or call the emergency line (112 in the Netherlands) for an ambulance. Alternatively, you can go to your nearest hospital’s first aid department. Never drive yourself, but have someone else drive you (a family member or neighbour, or take a taxi).
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