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Brain Ischemic Stroke

A blockage in the brain can be fatal, learn about Brain Ischemic Strokes for clot prevention and therapies.


Blood Clots:

Every 5-7 minutes, someone in Canada dies from a blood clot related health issue.

Ischemic StrokeWhat is it?

Ischemic (is-skeem-ic) Strokes:

The arteries within the vein become blocked by a blood clot (thrombosis), this is called an Ischemic Stroke. A number of factors can cause and Ischemic Stroke, one of the main reasons is due to atherosclerosis (cholesterol build-up) causing brain embolism, eventually forcing an aneurysm in the brain.

Hemorrhagic Strokes:

In some cases, where a blood clot gets lodged within the artery, the blood vessels bursts open due to weakened walls causing an aneurysm. If this occurs between the brain and the skull, this is then called a “subarachnoid hemorrhage”. If the hemorrhage occurs within the brain itself, then this is called a “intracerebral hemorrhage”.

Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA):

These are described as “mini-strokes” caused by blood clots. Transient Ischemic Attacks usually happen quickly and are signs and pre-cursors to something far more dangerous ahead. When blood flow is blocked to the brain, this becomes a dangerous situation for human beings. As blood is denied to the brain, so too is the necessary oxygen to keep cells active and healthy.

Hamilton Health Sciences:

Below are a couple of great videos on Stroke Awareness. For more great videos like these, including very informative articles & tips, please go here:

VIDEO: React “FAST” to the signs of stroke:

FAST stands for:
F – FACE – Is it drooping?
A – ARMS – Can you raise them?
S – SPEECH – Is it slurred or jumbled?
T- TIME – Time to call 9-1-1 right away

VIDEO: Dr. James Sahlas, stroke neurologist at Hamilton Health Sciences, demonstrate the “FAST” signs.

Stroke Awareness Month (2018):
LIVE Q&A - Women & Stroke with Dr. Sumiti Nayar.

Recommended Watching:

My Beautiful Broken Brain (2014)
Directors: Sophie Robinson, Lotje Sodderland
IMBD Rating: 7.4/10
Type: Documentary, Biography

"After watching this incredible first-hand account of what it's like to survive a blood clot to the brain, I had a profound respect for the director and patient; Lotje. Lotje was able to describe in great detail her experiences before, during and after her clot to the brain. I would recommend watching this incredible journey to anyone experiencing similar health concerns."

~ Source: Martin R. Lemieux, Clots Matter Founder

Statistics Statistics

"In 2009, about 315,000 (1.1%) of Canadians living in the community reported that they suffer from the effects of a stroke."

~ Source:

"In 2007, 11,276 deaths were attributed to stroke. Not only the elderly die from stroke: 1,159 deaths (10.3% of all stroke deaths) occurred in those under age 65 in 200"

~ Source:

"All cerebral aneurysms have the potential to rupture and cause bleeding within the brain. The incidence of reported ruptured aneurysm is about 10 in every 100,000 persons per year (about 30,000 individuals per year in the U.S.), most commonly in people between ages 30 and 60 years."

~ Source:

Signs and Symptoms Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of an Ischemic Stroke occur very suddenly within minutes. A person needs to react as quickly as possible to get treatment right away. Failure to do so may cause unwanted brain activity for the rest of their life, and/or death.

• Headache
• Blurred vision
• Nausea / Vomiting
• Seizure
• Loss of consciousness
• Confusion, trouble speaking
• Loss of balance

Therapies Therapies


Patient Assessment:

As all conditions, patients are first assessed by a medical professional. Factors are considered depending on the situation (ex. Patient history, trauma, surgery, risk assessment, etc.)

Blood Tests (D-Dimer):

Blood tests are done right away to measure the coagulation factor within a patient’s blood. This process includes a blood count and platelet count. The number of platelets in your blood determine the blood cell pieces that stick together, ultimately forming blood clots in the system.

Electrocardiogram (ECG):

A patient’s heart must be monitored right away for irregular heartbeats. ECG tests are performed to help determine factors that might harm a patient’s recovery by studying the hearts effectiveness.


CT-Scans are fast, efficient X-ray machines that can quickly scan the interior of your body for abnormalities. In the case of Ischemic Strokes, CT-scans can review your brain to give doctors a detailed view not seen by the naked eye.


An MRI may be performed to create images of inside the body, including the brain. MRI machines are powerful magnets that can see through the entire body and project the images on screen. This is a non-intrusive scan that can deliver quality results.


An ultrasound may be performed afterwards to determine the location that the blood clot started from. A clot in the brain may have started as a DVT in the leg, travelled upwards through the arteries, past the heart muscle and into the brain area. Doctors need to determine whether or not a patient is still at risk of throwing more clots in the near future.

*** Other tests not shown here may be implemented depending on the severity of the situation.


In order to stabilize a patient who has suffered a Brain Ischemic Stroke, steps need to be taken to ensure a healthy recovery. The below therapies are possible steps doctors may take during a patients stay at the hospital.

Anticoagulation Treatment:

A 7-day dose of Low-Molecular Weight Heparin is administered. Heparin injections react quickly to ensure anticoagulation prior to the oral medication(s) taking effect.

Oral Anticoagulation:

While the heparin takes effect, the patient is administered an oral anticoagulant (i.e. Coumadin, Xarelto, etc.). This treatment usually lasts up to 3 months depending on the severity of the stroke.


Ischemic Strokes have the potential to change a person’s life forever. It’s safe to say that Ischemic Strokes are very dangerous. Rehabilitation may be required depending on the severity of the side-effects.

A patient may need to relearn basic skills such as; reading, writing, problem solving, walking and skills to help become self-sufficient. Recover from a stroke is very difficult to predict. Rehabilitation techniques may take weeks, months or even years afterwards.

Lifestyle Changes May Include:

• Anxiety, depression
• Behavior changes
• Loss of body functions
• Memory loss, confusion
• Paralysis from one side of the body
• Personality changes
• Speech, writing, reading
• Trouble sleeping
• Upper body pain, discomfort
• Weakened state

Prevention and Risks Prevention & Risks:

It is very hard to predict when/where/how an individual is at risk of developing a brain blood clot. There are some measures patients can take to decrease the risks involved in future attacks.

Prevention is the Key-2-BloodClot-Free:

Blood Pressure:

Ensuring your lifestyle includes regular blood pressure checks is very important. Blood clots are affected by blood pressure, or lack thereof.


Being overweight poses a great deal of risks to your health. One of those risks is developing an Ischemic Stroke. Being overweight puts a great deal of strain on your heart and also puts pressure on your veins and arteries. Your risks are higher.


Individuals who exercise regularly are less likely to develop Ischemic Stroke’s. Laziness doesn’t pay. Regular walks, stretching, yoga, and non-intrusive exercises strengthens muscles around the walls of your veins. Healthy muscles increase blood flow throughout the body.

NOTE: Excessive weight lifting can have the opposite effect causing blood vessels to burst, expand and retract.


As if we as humans need another reason to quit smoking, but as many already know, smoking causes arteries and veins to retract, thus causing blood flow problems. Smoking drastically affect blood pressure increasing the risks of developing blood clots.


Some “gamer’s” have been known to develop blood clots simply by sitting for far too long at one time. Lack of movement causes blockages in the veins. The longer a person plays videos games without stretching, the longer they’re at risk of developing these silent killers.

Long Flights:

More and more we hear of the long-flight horror story. It’s a proven fact that long flights now pose serious risks to individuals because of the lack of movement while sitting for hours on end. Simple exercises to help open up the veins and to increase blood flow is now practiced by a great deal of airlines.

Flights that are 12 hours or longer increases the risks dramatically. Make sure to venture to the washroom at least once an hour. Practice safe sitting habits, while stretching out your pelvic area as much as possible.


Pregnancies are common factors for deep vein thrombosis. Pregnant mothers should take all precautions during their pregnancy. A great deal of studies has been done on the subject. More and more doctors are familiar with the risks involved. Make sure to speak to your doctor about your personal risks and what therapies and/or treatment options are available.


Trauma to the body is very unpredictable. A traumatic fall, car crash, sports injury, etc. can cause a lot of internal damage not seen by the naked eye. Any trauma should be treated seriously; measures should be taken to be checked by a local hospital for internal injuries that might affect blood flow in any way.


Patients should be well informed about the risks of having surgeries performed. Even in the best circumstance, whenever a body is worked on, there are risks of bleeding, bruising and damaged arterial systems. Patients should make sure to discuss anticoagulant options, and make sure they keep their appointments.

Work Environment:

These days an average person works long hours, many of those hours are stuck behind a desk positioned within a chair not moving around much. This daily commitment to our work can cause complications since we tend not to think about the damage forming within our lower extremities. Getting up and stretching is very important to maintain healthy blood flow.

Medical Note:

Any and all information provided here is not designed to give medical advice and/or replace recommendations from doctors.
Information therein comes from personal experiences of thrombosis patients.

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