ALL ABOUT BRAIN STROKE
Dr Reginald Varadarajulu Vsm
Hbr layout, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
What is a stroke?
Strokes are brain attacks or are also referred to as Brain stroke. They occur when the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked. A stroke is a medical emergency that needs immediate medical attention. A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.
When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. These abilities can include speech, movement, and memory. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.
World Stroke Day is observed on October 29 to underscore the serious nature and high rates of stroke, raise awareness of the prevention and treatment of the condition, and ensure better care and support for survivors. Heatstroke, also known as sunstroke, is a type of severe heat illness that results in a body temperature greater than 40.0 °C (104.0 °F)
Stroke symptoms can also include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
It is important to recognize stroke symptoms and act quickly.
Am I Having a Stroke?
Act FAST, Learn the many warning signs of a stroke. Use FAST to remember the warning signs:
F: FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A: ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S: SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T: TIME: If you observe any of these signs, CALL FOR HELP IMMEDIATELY
What causes a stroke?
Stroke is caused by a blocked blood vessel or bleeding in the brain. There are 2 main types of stroke: ischaemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. They affect the brain in different ways and can have different causes.
Ischaemic strokes are the most common type of stroke. They happen when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Another possible cause of ischaemic stroke is a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. Haemorrhagic strokes (also known as cerebral hemorrhages or intracranial hemorrhage) are less common than ischaemic strokes. They happen when a blood vessel inside the skull bursts and bleeds into and around the brain. The main cause of hemorrhagic stroke is high blood pressure, which can weaken the arteries in the brain and make them more likely to split or rupture.
What to Expect at the Hospital?
When diagnosing a stroke, time is critical. A quick diagnosis will ensure the use of treatment that can help with better results for your recovery.
1. Arrival at the Hospital: Provide detailed medical history and information about any past medical conditions. Knowing the exact time stroke symptoms began would be very helpful.
2. Initial Tests: Rule out any other conditions that have symptoms similar to a stroke.
3. Determine Type of Stroke: CT scan/MRI of the brain.
4. Begin Treatment
- Ischemic Stroke (caused by a blood clot)
- Drug Treatment (clot-busting medications)
- Surgery (thrombectomy)
- Preventive Treatment (anti-coagulants, blood pressure-lowering or cholesterol-lowering)
- Hemorrhagic Stroke (caused by bleeding)
- Drug Treatment (to reduce bleeding and lower pressure)
- Other (look for the underlying cause of the stroke)
5. Other Assessments: EKG; blood tests, including complete blood count, blood sugar, blood clotting time, electrolytes, liver and kidney function; MRI to find out the amount of damage to the brain; carotid ultrasound if narrowing of a carotid artery is suspected; MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram).
How to prevent a stroke?
What can you do to prevent a stroke? Age makes us more susceptible to having a stroke, as does having a mother, father, or another close relative who has had a stroke. Here are some ways to start reining in your risks today to avoid stroke, before a stroke has the chance to strike.
- Lower your blood pressure
- Lose weight
- If you drink — do it in moderation
- Exercise more
- Treat diabetes
- Quit smoking
These lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of problems like:
Arteries becoming clogged with fatty substances (atherosclerosis)
High cholesterol levels
If you suspect you’re experiencing symptoms of a stroke, you must seek emergency treatment. Clot-busting medication can only be provided in the first hours after the signs of a stroke begin, and early treatment is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk for long-term complications and disability.
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