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What is a Stroke?

1. What is a Stroke?

In medical terminology, the sudden damage to the brain related to vascular problems is called “a stroke”. During a stroke, brain tissue is damaged as a result of the interruption in the blood circulation in the brain. Vascular problems that lead to a stroke can be defined as occlusion in the veins that supply the brain, embolism in the veins that leads to the brain, or cerebral hemorrhage.


Paralysis, on the other hand, is the loss of movement, sense, and strength at one side of the body, hands, arms, or legs as a result of brain damage. As a result of a stroke, paralysis or hemiparalysis at some part of the person’s body may develop. The person may not be able to move the affected part of the body at all or may move it partially. This situation depends on the severity of the stroke and the part it affected in the brain.


Colloquially, the word “paralysis” is also used as a synonym for the word “stroke”. Because the words paralysis and stroke are used in each other’s stead the question “are paralysis and stroke the same thing?” is asked frequently. But actually, the stroke is the primary incident whereas paralysis is a result of the stroke.

2. How does Stroke affect the Brain?

Our brain is the vital organ that makes us basically where our feelings, senses, thoughts, and motions are generated. Even bodily functions like breathing and heart beating that we generally don’t think about are inspected by the brain. In a person who is having a stroke, the functioning of a part of the brain stops suddenly. This situation leads to symptoms that we observe in the body.

Brain tissue involves billions of nerve cells, assistant cells that support the nerve cells and blood vessels. Nerve cells are constantly in contact with each other through electrical and chemical signals. For this, they require plenty of oxygen and nutrients that blood carries.


When the vascular system is interrupted as a result of a stroke, at first nerve cells get temporarily damaged; if the circulation does not return to normal in a short time the nerve cells experience permanent damage. Effects of a stroke differ in accordance with the fact of which parts of the brain were deprived of blood circulation and to what extent. Some strokes can be gotten over lightly; the person gets better almost fully. Some strokes can lead to death. Between these two far sides, there are stroke cases with changing severities.

Prof. Dr. Engin Çakar

Prof. Dr. Engin Çakar has more than 15 years of experience in the areas of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Algology and Electrodiagnostic Neurology.

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