Each year, about 700,000 strokes occur, usually in men, one-third of which are caused by carotid stenosis. Vascular Associates of South Alabama provides an integrated approach to stroke prevention for patients in Mobile and Baldwin Counties and surrounding areas. Our physicians use state-of-the-art techniques to determine each patient’s unique risk factors for strokes so that the most effective and appropriate stroke prevention strategies can be administered to reduce their risk.
What causes a stroke?
The cause of a stroke depends on what type of stroke you have. There are 3 main types of strokes: ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes, and transient ischemic attacks (mini strokes).
-Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke. They occur when one or more of the arteries that supply blood to the brain become narrow or entirely closed off, preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain.
-Hemorrhagic strokes are less common and are caused when a blood vessel inside the brain bursts.
-Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) are also called “mini strokes”. They occur when blood flow inside the brain is temporarily blocked. Although the symptoms they cause resolve in less than 24-hours, they are a serious medical event and need immediate attention. TIAs increase the risk of having a major stroke and medical attention should be sought out as soon as possible.
What are the symptoms of a stroke?
Strokes can cause different symptoms depending on which area of the brain is affected. Some of the more common signs and symptoms include:
- Difficulty speaking
- Paralysis of the face, arm, or leg, usually affecting only one side
- Vision problems
- Difficulty walking or coordinating movements
- Severe headache
Strokes can cause significant damage in just a few minutes, and seeking emergency medical care at the first sign of a stroke is essential for preventing permanent damage and death. The amount of time after onset of symptoms is directly related to ability to treat and/or recover from the stroke.
If you’re unsure if someone is having a stroke, remember the popular mnemonic F-A-S-T:
Time to call!
What is stroke prevention?
Stroke prevention is a comprehensive, proactive approach to help patients avoid strokes. Stroke prevention involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medication, and, in some cases, minimally-invasive or ambulatory surgical interventions.
The first step in stroke prevention is having a medical evaluation to identify the patient’s risk factors. The experienced surgeons at Vascular Associates of South Alabama use different techniques to identify stroke risks, beginning with a physical exam and a review of the patient’s personal and family medical histories. They also do a careful review of the patient’s lifestyle to look for behaviors that could increase the chances of developing a stroke, including:
- Uncontrolled hypertension
- A diet of unhealthy fats
- A diet high in sodium
- Being physically inactive
How does Vascular Associates of South Alabama Treat and Prevent Strokes?
The experienced specialists at Vascular Associates of South Alabama are highly experienced in the treatment and prevention of strokes. For patients at risk for stroke, your specialist may order a carotid ultrasound exam to obtain detailed images of the carotid arteries so he can look for narrow areas or other abnormalities in the arteries. These ultrasounds are done conveniently in our on-site lab in Mobile, AL, using the industry’s most advanced ultrasound technology.
When narrowing is observed in one or both arteries, your surgeon may recommend a surgery or procedure to “open up” the arteries so blood flow is optimized. The thought of surgery may seem scary, but rest assured that you’re in the best hands with Vascular Associates of South Alabama. In other cases, medications to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, or thin the blood may be prescribed, along with regular monitoring.
We welcome the opportunity to treat new patients in South Alabama and surrounding areas. For your convenience, our practice accepts most major medical insurance plans.