Ischemia is a condition in which the body tissue receives insufficient oxygen due to the defective blood flow in the vessels that serve them. The onset of brain ischemia resembles a stroke caused by cerebral embolism, but the “transient” attack differs since the symptoms of stroke last for only a short time. Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, for example, may take a few minutes or hours, then disappear, while the symptoms of stroke last for longer than 24 hours. This difference is important: sometimes, a more serious damage (in other words, stroke) can be prevented if the ischemia is diagnosed and treated.
Constipation or blockage (obstruction) of the arteries leading to the brain can be due to several causes. The onset of ischemia usually occurs when the clot or fragment of the plate is dissected from the artery wall or the heart flap and falls into the brain with blood vessels. While a clot or a piece of a plate (called an embolus) passes through the blood vessels in the brain, it temporarily interferes with the flow of blood into the part of the brain tissue causing undesirable consequences. However, the circulation is soon reestablished and tissues temporarily deprived of blood are recovering. Therefore, the embolism is transient. However, transient embolism can be repeated.
Symptoms of ischemia are similar to symptoms of stroke, but do not last long. If the embolus is stucked in the artery that provides the eye, vision loss may occur due to occlusion of the retinal artery.
Reliable estimation of frequency is impossible since many ischemic attacks are not revealed. However, there is no doubt that they are very common, especially among people over the age of 60.
Frequent ischaemia attacks increase the likelihood of stroke. Nearly half of those experiencing transient attacks of ischemia were affected by stroke within five years after the first seizure.
What to do?
If you notice symptoms similar to symptoms of stroke, or sudden loss of vision on one eye, contact your doctor immediately who will examine you and, possibly, refer you to a neurologist. The first step in the diagnosis is to determine the sources of possible embolism. Probable source of embolus is one of two cervical arteries. By looking for signs of narrowing of the cervical arteries, the doctor will listen various spots on the neck with the stethoscope, as well as possibly on the chest, to detect any signs of abnormal heart valve or irregular heart rate.
Other possible examinations include electrocardiogram (EKG), X-rays of the chest, as well as special X-ray of arterial blood vessels that are a possible source of problems.
Self-help: a treatment is focused on preventing stroke. Preventive measures mostly depend on age and general health, but there are a few simple measures that anyone can take. If you smoke, stop. Try to avoid greasy foods and engage in physical activities. Regularly check the blood pressure.
Professional help: your doctor may only advise you to take two aspirin tablets daily and for a lifetime; aspirin is a good tool against future seizures because it prevents the collection of blood particles. Strong anticoagulant agents may also be available on prescription and, in some cases, surgical procedures are preferred. If the artery narrowing site is correctly determined, this part of the artery may occasionally boar in order to improve the blood flow.