Desert Radiology Educates Southern Nevada Community on Types of Strokes in Recognition of National Stroke Awareness Month

Every month, Desert Radiology is committed to educating the Southern Nevada community on common diseases, revolutionary imaging technologies and showing how our practice’s procedures play a role in bettering our patients’ lives. This month is National Stroke Awareness month, and the team here at Desert Radiology wanted to inform the community on the different types of strokes that can occur, how strokes are diagnosed using imaging techniques and how treatment differs based on the type of stroke a patient encounters.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted through built up substances on artery walls or when an artery in the brain becomes damaged and begins leaking blood directly into the brain. Because of the differences in how they occur, strokes are categorized in two ways, ischemic and hemorrhagic.

  • Ischemic Strokes: Ischemic strokes occur when fat, cholesterol and other substances result in plaque buildup on artery walls, clogging passageways for proper blood flow. They are more common than hemorrhagic strokes and are treated by administering drugs that help to dissolve the clot and restore proper blood flow.
  • Hemorrhagic Strokes: Although less common than ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes are the result of blood vessels in the brain rupturing, allowing blood to leak into the brain. When a hemorrhagic stroke occurs, the part of the body the damaged area of the brain controls ceases to work properly. These strokes are severe and are treated by reducing pressure on the brain. In the most extreme cases, surgery may be needed to reduce pressure and repair ruptured blood vessels affecting the brain.

When a stroke occurs, a Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) scan of the head is one of the best tools doctors can use to identify which type of stroke a patient had. Quickly identifying if a stroke was hemorrhagic or ischemic is important as each stroke variation has different treatment methods. Proper treatment is critical for reducing the long-term effects of a stroke and increasing the patient’s chance of survival. 

During a head CT scan, computers use x-ray waves and sophisticated programming to create complex and detailed images of the head from multiple angles. Through these images, CT scans reveal the location of blood clots, tumors, infections and dying tissues. Once the type of stroke is identified based on the results of the scan, doctors can give an accurate diagnosis and begin proper treatment.

Patients who have histories of one or more of the following are at the highest risk of a stroke:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Cholesterol
  • Excessive Alcohol Use
  • Illegal Drug Use
  • Are Older Aged
  • Family History of Strokes

Because a quick diagnosis and treatment is imperative to preventing long-term side effects of strokes, we recommend patients and their family members who exhibit high-risk qualities have a conversation with their regular doctor about a plan of action in the event of a stroke. Timely responses are critical when dealing with sudden strokes, and you can depend on Desert Radiology CT scan services and our professional imaging team to provide high quality care when you or a family member needs it most.

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“My Desert Radiology visit was a great experience. The entire staff were professional and accommodating. The facility is immaculate and easily accessible. I don’t hesitate to recommend it for radiologic protocols.”

Ell Corum