Nina Solenski, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, discusses strokes
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Nina Solenski: Hi! I am Nina Solenski. I am one of the Stroke Neurologist here at University of Virginia Health System and also a member of our Primary Stroke Center. I am involved in stroke care and I have been treating strokes for about 20 years now. The video segments that you are about to view are going to cover many topics on stroke but there will be very important topics on how to identify a stroke, what to do in the event of a stroke, all the way down to what to ask my doctor during follow-up and recovery of a stroke. So I am hoping that these will be helpful for you. Male Speaker: What are the causes of strokes? Nina Solenski: Some of the most common ones include disease of the heart. Many people as they get older may get in an, what we call an Arrhythmia, meaning that heart rate is not normal. When the heart rate is so irregular that is the heart is no longer pumping effectively that clots can form actually within the chambers of the heart, if one of those clots happens to break off, and it doesn't take a very big size at all, even the size of a pinhead can break off and go to the brain, that's an important cause of stroke. Another one is disease from high cholesterol that builds up in the blood vessels for example in the carotid artery that I mentioned earlier. This is a very common place to have this disease. As that disease is growing, the cholesterol is building up and narrowing the blood vessel. As it becomes narrowed, there is an actual change in the surface of the blood vessel. That blood vessel becomes a place for clots to form. When they form there they can actually break off and go wavered, up to the brain, sometimes they can actually form such a big clot that they shut down this blood vessel totally. So those are two the most common causes of stroke. Then there are those that are involved the small blood vessels and if you think about the branches in the tree, this is exactly what the blood vessels are in the brain. So there are large vessels that come up, just like a trunk and then branch out, these small little blood vessels can also be clogged, and it tend to happen in patients with high blood pressure or diabetes. Those we call Lacunar Infarcts or in Lacunar Strokes.