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How Is the Brain Affected by a Stroke?

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Whenever blood flow to part of the brain is stopped due to a broken vessel or a blockage caused by a blood clot, a stroke occurs. This health condition is more common among seniors, but it can happen to anyone at any time. Understanding what happens in the brain right after a stroke occurs can help people be prepared if a family member has a stroke. Here’s a timeline of all the major events that happen in the brain right after blood flow to an area stops.

Brain Cells Die

When a stroke first occurs, it can take a moment to notice it because there will already be some oxygen and blood in the brain. As a region of the brain stops getting the blood it needs, brain cells start dying within the first five minutes because they’re no longer receiving oxygen. At first, it can just seem like part of the brain has gone offline. Seniors might notice they cannot raise an arm or remember a word, then more significant signs, such as difficulty talking, weakness in the arms, a drooping face, confusion, or blurred vision, set in. Depending on which blood vessel breaks, oxygen flow can be cut off to either a very small or very large part of the brain, so levels of cell death may vary greatly.

Stroke survivors who recover at home often need help with the everyday tasks of life. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Scottsdale home care service agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.

Pressure Builds Up in the Brain

Depending on the type of stroke, a senior may end up with unchecked bleeding somewhere in the brain, which is particularly dangerous because all the blood that leaks out of the broken vessel can build up and put pressure on the brain. The excess pressure inside the skull can end up causing even more damage than cell death resulting from lack of oxygen.

Blockages and Bleeding Are Halted

This part of the stroke timeline can occur naturally or require medical intervention. Some people have temporary strokes, during which blockages move on through the bloodstream or tiny broken blood vessels form seals on their own. Others may need doctors to prescribe medication to break up clots or perform surgery to halt the bleeding. Once the physical cause of the stroke is addressed, it’s time for the brain to begin the healing process.

The effects of a stroke can make it difficult for seniors to live at home safely without a caregiver close by at all times. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Scottsdale live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.

New Brain Cells Grow

As soon as bleeding in the brain is halted and blood flow resumes, the brain can start repairing lightly damaged cells and clearing away dead cells to make space for new ones. In the first three to four months following a stroke, the brain will start growing new cells to replace the ones it lost. This is a complicated process called neurogenesis, and it involves the brain sending newly formed neurons to damaged areas and getting new blood vessels to grow, providing nutrition and oxygen to surrounding areas.

A senior stroke survivor often needs very specialized care from someone with experience in providing support during stroke recovery. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place. Call Home Care Assistance at 480.448.6215 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.