Pacifica Orthopedics, Huntington Beach, California.

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Neurology is the division of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system, spinal cord and brain. Neurologists specialize in the diagnosis, management and treatment of such ailments. Some Neurologists specialize in specific areas such pediatrics, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease or epilepsy.

Strokes are caused by impaired oxygen delivery to the brain cells through the bloodstream. Five major signs of stroke are the sudden onset of numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on only one side of the body. Sometimes there may be a tingling sensation in the area affected by the stroke. Loss of voluntary movement may be only partial, but can be total.

Stroke patients will display confusion. They may have trouble speaking and/or understanding what is said to them. It can cause sight difficulty in one or both eyes. There could be a lack of mobility, dizziness, together with loss of balance or coordination, as well as a severe headache.

The cause of a stroke is the blockage of an artery to the brain. The reasons vary from person to person. Sometimes, the blockage is due to the narrowing of an artery, hardening of the arteries, an embolism passing from the heart to the brain or the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. Damage to the frontal circulation of the brain is supplied affects sensation, motor activity, emotion, thought and speech. When damage occurs in the posterior area it will affect the cerebellum and brainstem, which control the automatic brain functions, as well as coordination.

If you suspect someone has suffered a stroke, the first priority is to get skilled medical assistance. Call the ambulance and stress this may be a stroke patient, then the paramedics can alert the hospital to have a neurologist available as soon as they arrive at the hospital.

While waiting for the ambulance, here are three steps to help the stroke victim. Lay the person flat. This allows for optimal blood flow to the brain. Turn the person on their side in the rescue position to prevent blockage of the airways and choking. Do not give any medication or fluid.

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