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Stroke:

Updated: Feb 16, 2023


A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or decreased, causing reduced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain tissue. And the brain cells start to die in minutes. In a medical emergency like a stroke, prompt treatment is essential to reduce brain damage and other complications.

We are very fortunate that the number of people dying of stroke is decreasing due to improving research and developments in medical field and awareness amongst the people. Now, there are many effective treatments that help prevent disability from a stroke on a much higher level.

Here are two leading causes of stroke.

-A blocked artery (Ischemic Stroke)

This is the most common type of stroke, which happens when the blood vessels of the brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow (Ischemia)

-Leaking or bursting of a blood vessel (Hemorrhagic Stroke).

-A temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain (Transient Ischemic Attack)

Ischemic stroke

Fatty deposits in blood vessels or blood clots or other debris that travel through our bloodstream and lodge in the blood vessels in our brain cause blockade or narrowed blood vessels.

Some primary research reflects COVID-19 virus may be a possible cause of ischemic stroke.

Hemorrhagic stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel in our brain leaks or tears. Brain haemorrhages can result from many infirmities that affect our blood vessels. Factors related to hemorrhagic stroke include:

Uncontrolled high blood pressure

Treatment with blood thinners (anticoagulants)

Bulges at soft spots in your blood vessel walls (aneurysms)

Trauma (such as a car accident)

Protein sediments in blood vessel walls that point to weakness in the vessel wall (cerebral amyloid angiopathy)

Ischemic stroke leading to haemorrhage

A less regular cause of bleeding in the brain is the rupture of an abnormal tangle of thin-walled blood vessels (arteriovenous malformation).

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes identified as a ministroke, is a temporary period of symptoms similar to those one would have in a stroke. A TIA doesn’t cause permanent damage. They’re caused by a temporary drop in blood supply to part of your brain, which may last like five to six minutes.

Similar to an ischemic stroke, a TIA occurs when a clot or debris reduces or blocks blood flow to part of our nervous system.

one should seek emergency care even if they think they’ve had a TIA because their symptoms got better. It’s not possible to tell if one is having a stroke or TIA based only on the symptoms. If one have had a TIA, it means they may have a partially blocked or narrowed artery leading to their brain. Having a TIA increases the risk of a full-blown stroke later.

Symptoms

If you or someone you’re with maybe having a stroke, pay particular consideration to the time the symptoms starts. Some treatment options are most effective when carried out soon after a stroke begins.

Signs and symptoms of stroke include:

Trouble speaking and deciphering about the simple conversation going around. One may experience confusion, slur the words or have difficulty understanding speech.

Paralysis of the face, arm or leg. One may feel unusual numbness, weakness or paralysis in their face, arm or leg which often affects just one side of the body. One should try to raise both their arms over their head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, it may be due to a stroke. Also, one side of the mouth may droop when one is naturally smiling.

Problems seeing in one or both eyes. One may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or they may see double.

Headache, a sudden, severe headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness, may indicate that the person is having a stroke.

Trouble walking. One may stumble or lose their balance and may also have sudden dizziness or a loss of coordination.

Treatment

The best approach to treat strokes is to act FAST. Ischemic stroke is best treated when treated within 6 hours from onset of brain attack, as the clot can be dissolved more effectively by giving Inj r-tPA within 4.5 hours and the outcome will be far better. Mechanical thrombectomy can be offered upto 6 hours and in selected few patients upto 24 hours.

Patients who develop severe post stroke brain injury, or those who have hematoma may require surgery for hematoma removal or decompressive Craniectomy. In this procedure, a part of skull bone is removed to reduce internal pressure of brain.

Stroke Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is a critical aspect of Stroke care. Most stroke victims will require rehabilitation after the event. A person’s condition is generally dependent on the area of the brain and the amount of tissue that was damaged. It is common for the rehabilitation process to include a wide range of therapies along with family education.

Rehabilitation programme for stroke includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dysphagia therapy, speech therapy, cognitive therapy, continent advisor, recreational therapy, advice on orthotics and vocational counselling.

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