Stroke: Causes, symptoms and treatment

STROKE

What is a Stroke?

A Stroke occurs due to blood blockage in the brain supply or due to a sudden bleed in the brain blood vessel.

Stroke inhibits the flow of oxygen to the brain; on account of this, brain cells and brain tissues gradually get destroyed and may cause brain dead in the end.

Types of Strokes

There are three major types of Strokes:

Transient Ischemic Stroke

A transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or “mini stroke” is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain.
The disruption in blood supply results in a lack of oxygen to the brain.
This can cause sudden symptoms similar to a stroke, such as speech and visual disturbance, and numbness or weakness in the face, arms and legs.
But a TIA does not last as long as a stroke. The effects last a few minutes to a few hours and fully resolve within 24 hours.

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Ischemic Stroke

Ischemic Stroke forms a blockage either by a clot or through plaques in the artery. Ischemic Strokes last longer and sometimes become permanent.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

Hemorrhagic Stroke is either a burst or leakage in the brain blood vessels.

Causes of Stroke

In most Stroke cases, the type of Stroke determines the cause of the Stroke. The underlying causes are often said to be the vital reasons for Stroke.

High Blood Pressure  

High blood pressure can cause a Stroke by clogging the arteries that provide blood and oxygen to the brain.

Tobacco

If you smoke continuously, you may have the chance of getting affected by Ischemic Stroke. In general, uncontrolled smoking increases the chances of Stroke.

Heart disease  

Heart disease oftentimes results in Stroke. Heart ailments like coronary artery diseases level up the chances of Stroke due to the unwanted building of plaques in the arteries.

Diabetes  

Diabetes results in high blood glucose levels, which may eventually damage your blood vessels resulting in a Stroke.

Obesity  

Being obese and overweight injures the blood vessels of the brain. These disorders damage the brain and heart’s blood vessels over time, increasing the likelihood of a blood clot and Stroke.

Medication  

Medications like Anti-depressants, Vitamin E and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may cause a small risk of Stroke. Therefore, before taking any medications, make sure to ask the doctor’s suggestion.

Age  

You’re more prone to have a Stroke as you become older. It is said that after the age of 55, the risk of getting a Stroke nearly doubles every ten years.  

Family  

Although Stroke is not a hereditary problem, risk factors such as high blood pressure, Diabetes or high cholesterol problem can be caused through the inheritance of the family members.

Gender

Strokes can attack both men and women. The incidence of Stroke is higher for those who have more symptoms of Stroke.

Symptoms of Stroke 

Brain tissues are damaged due to impediments caused in the blood flow to the brain.

Symptoms of a Stroke are often reflected in body parts that are controlled by the affected area of the brain.

The earlier you identify the signs of a Stroke, the faster you can recover from it. Stroke symptoms can include the following conditions:

Confusion

One of the most common symptoms of Stroke is incessant confusion. Sudden confusion in thinking, learning, writing and reading are often addressed as the major implications of Stroke.

Headache

Headache is said to be the major problem for people who are diagnosed with Stroke. In most cases, headache is caused due to pain triggers in the sensory region of the brain.

Numbness

After a Stroke, the brain is unable to interpret sensory input from the skin, resulting in numbness. It is caused by the brain’s inability to comprehend sensory information of the skin.

Vision problems in the eyes

A person may experience sudden vision problems in any one of their eyes due to the complications of a Stroke.

Difficulty in walking

Following a Stroke, some people will have walking difficulties. Strokes can harm the areas of your brain that control movement coordination in your body.

A Stroke requires spontaneous medical attention. Be extremely cautious when you are dealing with a Stroke. Immediately call the medical emergency number if you find a person having a Stroke. Immediate treatment prevents the following damage to the victim:

  • Death
  • Brain damage
  • Long-term disability

Diagnosis of Stroke

Physical examination  

A thorough head and neck examination is routinely performed as a part of a physical examination to identify and diagnose Stroke. A thorough examination is vital to assess Stroke and its risk factors.

Blood Tests  

A Stroke cannot be diagnosed by a blood test. But your doctor may do a series of blood tests to determine the source of your Stroke symptoms. For example, Complete Blood Count (CBC) test.

CT Scan  

A CT scan can typically determine whether you’ve experienced an ischemic or haemorrhagic Stroke. It’s usually faster than an MRI scan, which means you’ll be able to get the therapy you need very fast.

MRI Scan  

An MRI scan can reveal brain tissue damage and brain hemorrhages caused by an Ischemic Stroke. To examine the arteries and veins of a blood flow, your doctor may inject a dye into a blood vessel known as Magnetic resonance angiography.

Carotid ultrasound  

A carotid ultrasound is used to look for constricted carotid arteries, which can lead to Stroke. Plaque (made up of fat), cholesterol, calcium and other chemicals that circulate in the bloodstream can narrow the carotid arteries.

Cerebral angiogram  

A cerebral angiogram is an X-ray-based diagnostic test. It creates a cerebral angiography, which is an image that can aid your doctor in locating blockages or other abnormalities in your head and neck blood arteries.  

Echocardiogram

In patients with Stroke, Echocardiography is a frequently utilised and adaptable method that can provide full information on Stroke.

Prevention of Stroke 

You can effectively prevent a Stroke from hitting you if you focus on the below measures:

Not smoking tobacco  

Quitting your smoking habit is the ultimate way of lowering your risk of Stroke. You can seek the help of your doctor to create a plan to quit smoking.

Maintaining a moderate weight  

Staying fit and maintaining a stable body weight help you to avoid obesity problems and protect you from harmful conditions like Stroke.

Exercising regularly  

Exercising regularly helps you to stay fit and energised all the time.

Avoiding alcohol

Heavy alcohol consumption drastically shoots up your blood pressure, which ultimately paves the way for Stroke.

Healthy diet  

Eating a balanced diet and doing exercise is the best way of reducing your body weight.

Risk factors for Stroke

Certain risk factors make you more vulnerable to Stroke. The following are some of the risk factors:

Diet

An unbalanced diet leverages the risk of Stroke. Avoid the below food types:

  • Salt
  • Saturated fats
  • Trans fats
  • Cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of exercise leads to the risk of Stroke
  • Regular exercise has numerous health benefits
  • A continuous brisk walk regularly in the morning can make you hyperactive throughout the day.

Over alcohol consumption

The risk of Stroke exponentially increases with the consumption of alcohol.

Supposedly, if you have the habit of drinking alcohol, try to quit it as soon as possible. Heavy consumption of alcohol shoots up your blood pressure. It also levels up your triglyceride and may lead to Atherosclerosis.

This results in the formation of plaque buildup that narrows down the level of the blood vessels.

Tobacco use

Bear in mind that tobacco in any form increases your risk of Stroke. It directly affects your heart and blood vessels. Nicotine present in tobacco raises yours raises blood pressure.

Personal health history

A person who has the following medical conditions are likely to have an increased Stroke risk. Certain conditions are explicitly linked to the risk of Stroke. These include:

  • A previous Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Overweight
  • Heart disorders
  • Heart valve defects
  • Increased heart chambers
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Diabetes
  • Blood clotting disorder

Treatment of Stroke

Recovery from a Stroke requires a thorough medical examination and prompt treatment. Immediately call the local emergency services when you realise the person is suffering from a Stroke.

Ultimately, treatment for the Stroke depends on the type of Stroke:

Ischemic Stroke treatment

Ischemic Strokes are frequently treated with injections of alteplase, a drug that breaks blood clots and improves blood flow to the brain.  

Ischemic Stroke is a dangerous disorder that necessitates immediate medical attention. Most persons who have had an ischemic Stroke can recover or keep enough function to take care of their fundamental needs with the right treatment.

Hemorrhagic Stroke treatment

A hemorrhagic Stroke necessitates immediate medical attention. The goal of this treatment is to stop bleeding in your brain and relieve the pressure generated by it. Drugs can be used to lower blood pressure and slow bleeding.

Surgery is required in the majority of cases of a hemorrhagic Stroke to alleviate intracranial (within the skull) pressure caused by bleeding.

Rehabilitation

For Stroke victims, physical therapy is the most prevalent form of rehabilitation. Physical therapy aims to help Stroke patients recover basic motion skills like walking, sitting, standing, lying down, and switching from one type of movement to another.

When to see a doctor?

You can consult a doctor if you undergo any of the following conditions:

  • Face – Drooping in the face or lips?
  • Arms – Is it possible for them to lift both arms?
  • Speech – Is there any slurring in their speech?
  • Critical stage – In the case of the critical stage, call the ambulance immediately to save the patient’s life.

Summing up

Keep in mind, that if you see a person suspecting Stroke symptoms, then promptly call the emergency number and admit him to the hospital. This may save him from the death bed.

FAQs

1.What is the fast treatment for Stroke?

The fast treatment for treating Stroke is injecting Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA) injection within the first three hours through a vein in the arm.

2.What are the five Stroke warning signs?

1. Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg that develops suddenly.
2.  Sudden perplexity in understanding what is happening around.
3.  One or both eyes experience sudden vision impairment.
4. Sudden difficulties in walking as well as loss of balance or coordination issues
5. Frequent headache problems even after medication

3.What are the measures to lower the chances of having a Stroke?

1 · Maintain a healthy weight
2 · Participate in frequent physical activity
3 · Smoking is not permitted
4 · Alcohol should be consumed in moderation
5 · Check your cholesterol levels
6 . Control your blood pressure and diabetic levels

4.Do’s and Don’ts in Stroke?  

Do’s
· Do give CPR
· Do act F.A.S.T
· Do keep track of details
Don’ts
· Don’t ignore symptoms of Stroke
· Don’t give aspirin
· Don’t get stressed or depressed

5.What are the ways to cheer up a Stroke victim?  

1 · Talk to them and avoid them going into depression
2 · Offer emotional support and boost their courage
3 · Frequently tell them they will be okay

6.Which position is best for a Stroke patient?  

Always make sure to lie down for Stroke-affected persons in a flat position until they get admitted to a hospital.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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