Watch Out for These Warning Signs of a Thrombosis Stroke

Illustration of a brain having a stroke.

A stroke is a disease caused by a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. (Image: Katerynakon via Dreamstime)

In the United States, about 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year, that’s every 40 seconds, and every 4 minutes someone dies. There are more than 140,000 deaths each year from strokes. Statistics show that about 40 percent of deaths occur in males and 60 percent in females.

This is also the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States. Over 7 million survivors are living in the United States and two-thirds of them are currently disabled. Around 25 percent of people who recover from their first stroke will have another within 5 years.

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What is a cerebral thrombosis stroke?

These are caused by a thrombus (blood clot) that develops in the arteries supplying blood to the brain. This type is usually seen in older persons, especially those with high cholesterol and atherosclerosis (a buildup of fat and lipids inside the walls of blood vessels) or diabetes.

Cerebral thrombotic strokes.
Cerebral thrombotic strokes are strokes caused by a thrombus (blood clot) that develops in the arteries supplying blood to the brain. (Image: via

Types of a cerebral thrombosis strokes

These are divided into two categories based on the size of the area of blockage within the brain: large-vessel thrombosis and small-vessel thrombosis.

A large-vessel stroke

This occurs in the larger blood-supplying arteries of the brain, such as the carotid artery or middle cerebral artery. These typically cause substantial symptoms and long-term effects, such as aphasia (trouble with language) or hemiparesis (weakness of one side of the body.)

A small-vessel stroke

This occurs when blood flow is blocked to a small and deep penetrating arterial blood vessel. This is also known as a lacunar stroke or a subcortical stroke. A small-vessel thrombus can also result in a brainstem stroke. These are small in size, affecting only a limited area of the brain. Depending on the area impacted, it can produce minor effects or it can produce substantial handicaps if it impacts a region of the brain that is responsible for important and noticeable physical or cognitive abilities.

What are the symptoms?

Sometimes, symptoms can occur suddenly and often during sleep or in the early morning. At other times, it may occur gradually over hours or even days. The quicker you treat cerebral thrombosis, the better prognosis you will have, compared to delaying treatment.

Below are some symptoms to look out for that may indicate cerebral thrombosis and can allow for early treatment.

  • Headache
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • One side of the body becomes weak or paralyzed
  • Some part of the body suddenly becomes severely numb
  • Sudden loss of vision, or some sort of visual disturbance
  • Walking becomes difficult, or you start staggering or veering
  • Arms and hands are difficult to coordinate
  • Inability to speak, or speech becomes slurred
Recovering from a cerebral thrombotic stroke.
Recovery from a cerebral thrombotic stroke depends on how long blood flow to the brain is blocked. (Image: Ian Allenden via Dreamstime)

Expected duration

Recovery depends on how long blood flow to the brain is blocked.  

If blood circulation in the brain is restored within minutes to a few hours, the person can recover rapidly, within hours to a day. For a small thrombotic stroke (lacunar stroke), symptoms often improve within a few days, even if the blood clot has not dissolved. 

When the blood supply is interrupted for longer periods, brain injury can be more severe. Symptoms may last for many months. Physical rehabilitation may be necessary.  

In some cases, permanent brain damage causes permanent disability. 

Who are those most at risk?

You are at risk if you have one or more of these situations.

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Smoking

Wise food choices

Eating wisely can minimize the chances of a cerebral thrombosis stroke.

  • Increase the volume of fruits and veggies in your diet, a Mediterranean diet is the best
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 such as fish, flaxseed, and omega-3 rich eggs
  • Avoid high cholesterol foods like red meat, fried food, and butter
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Cut down your salt intake

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