The brain needs the supply of blood to perform many functions. The tissue in the brain cannot keep up its electrical activity without a steady supply of oxygen. If blood flow is obstructed, neurological malfunctions may develop.
Stroke is the common name for blood disruption and it is caused by an arterial blockage in the brain. The blockage may come from a blood clot, fat embolus, or an air bubble. The brain tissue that cannot receive blood flow dies due to the absence of oxygen. Strokes usually result in the loss of specific functions. For example, a stroke in the side of medulla can make a person incapable of swallowing. Sometimes, other functions will be lost because they rely on structures in the same part of the brain. A stroke in the same region (side of medulla) could affect facial sensory functions or extremities because the lateral medulla is also the region where important white matter pathways pass. The loss of specific higher functions are due to the loss of blood flow to a specific areas of the cortex. Specific higher brain functions include the ability to recognize faces and the ability to move particular areas of the body. A stroke in the temporal lobe may cause severe or limited memory loss.
Transient ischemic attacks or TIAs are mini strokes that only last for few minutes. These are caused by a blockage that may be temporary and not to the extent that it causes tissue to die in that area. Neurological functions may be lost while the nerve tissues in that area are recovering from TIA. If the area is able to recover, neurological functions return.
The speed of treatment plays a critical role and recovery from stroke or TIA is dependent on it. Usually, the person nearby notices the stroke incident and must make a decision. When someone is dealing with sudden neurological malfunctions, the mnemonic FAST may help people remember what to look for. F – does the person have problems making regular facial expression and moving face muscles? A – can the person raise one arm but not the other? S – any signs of speech changed such as slurring or trouble saying words? T – time to call for help of any of these things happened.
Drugs that can sometimes relieve the problem are called blood thinners. If the neurological tissue is damaged, fortunately, the nervous system can be resilient and victims can recover or relearn functions through physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology. Disorder Of The Central Nervous System. Accessed November 24, 2019