May is National Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month. This month is something that I can relate to because I had an in utero stroke that caused me to be diagnosed with right hemiplegia. Strokes can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, gender, and many other factors. The risk of stroke in children is greater in the first year of life and during the period right before birth and afterwards.
A stroke is defined as anything that prevents the brain of oxygen or when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. There are two types of strokes: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
- An ischemic stroke happens when blood clots or other particles block the blood vessels to the brain.
- A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel bursts in the brain.
A transient ischemic attack, abbreviated TIA, occurs when blood flow to the brain stops for a short time. It can present itself as stroke-like symptoms. These symptoms appear and last less than 24 hours before going away. Watch out for TIAS though, they may signal that a stroke may be coming.
There are unique symptoms to look out for with newborns, infants, children, and teens.
Newborns and infants:
- Extreme sleepiness
- Uses only one side of the body
Children and teens
- Severe headaches
- Loss of balance and coordination