Stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is reduced or interrupted, preventing brain tissues from getting oxygen and nutrients. In the process, brain cells begin to die rapidly. A stroke is life-threatening. It is a medical emergency which needs immediate medical assistance.
The major causes of stroke are:
- Ischemic stroke: condition where blood supply is blocked due to a clot.
- Trans ischemic stroke: temporary blockage in arteries that supplies the brain.
- Haemorrhagic stroke: bursting of a weakened blood vessel that supplies the brain. Possible causes for a hemorrhagic stroke are:
- Increased and uncontrolled blood pressure
- Trauma such as a blow to head in a motor vehicle accident
- Use or over treatment with anticoagulants or blood thinners.
Symptoms of stroke occur suddenly. Common symptoms of stroke include:
- Severe and unusual headache
- Losing consciousness
- Sudden weakness
- Trouble walking
- Vision problems
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble speaking and understanding
- Loss of speech
- Sudden behavioural changes
- Confusions and hallucinations
Diagnostic procedures for stroke include:
- Physical examination
- Blood tests
- Imaging tests
- MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- CT: Computerised Tomography scan
- Carotid ultrasound
- Cerebral angiogram
- Chest X-Rays
Stroke can be prevented to an extent by healthy lifestyle measures which include:
- Regular exercise
- Healthy diet
- Avoid smoking and alcohols
- Avoid caffeines
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Control your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels
- Get regular medical check ups.
Immediate treatment is required in case of stroke to restore blood supply to the brain; to prevent further damage to brain cells and for survival.
- First consideration is CABs- Circulation, airway and breathing
- Further treatment depends on the cause and type of the stroke.
- For ischemic stroke and trans ischemic stroke, the following procedures are mostly used:
- Medications like anti platelets, anticoagulants and clot breaking drugs.
- Mechanical thrombectomy: a medical procedure used to remove the blood clots.
- Stent: a procedure to inflate narrowed arteries.
- Surgery: to remove large blood clots and blockages.
- For hemorrhagic stroke, treatment measures include:
- Medications to reduce blood pressure, prevent seizures, prevent blood vessel constriction and counteract any blood thinners you have intaken.
- Coiling: a medical procedure performed to reduce bleeding.
- Clamping: a medical procedure performed to prevent additional bleeding in case of unruptured aneurysms.
- Surgery is required in case of ruptured aneurysms and large strokes.
- Common stroke medications include anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs and blood pressure reducing drugs.
- Stroke recovery is required once the emergency is treated. Rehabilitative procedures for the same include:
- Speech therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Sensory stimulation
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