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What is Stroke?

A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain. It is also referred to as a brain attack. Without the oxygen in blood, brain cells start dying within minutes. Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen. Three adults suffer from a stroke every minute in India and around 5 million people are disabled globally due to the brain attack each year.

Awareness is the key to combat this neurological disorder on time!

Types

A stroke can happen in two main ways: Something blocks the flow of blood, or something causes bleeding in the brain.

Ischemic stroke: This is the most common type of stroke, making up 87% of all cases. A blood clot prevents blood and oxygen from reaching an area of the brain.

Haemorrhagic stroke: This occurs when a blood vessel ruptures. These are usually the result of aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Transient ischemic attack (TIA): This occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain is inadequate for a brief period of time. Normal blood flow resumes after a short amount of time, and the symptoms resolve without treatment. Some people call this a ministroke.

Five warning signs of stroke

Sudden onset of weakness or numbness on one side of the body

Sudden speech difficulty or confusion

Sudden difficulty
seeing in one or both
eyes

Sudden onset of dizziness, trouble walking or loss of balance

Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Other warning signs of stroke

Bladder or bowel control problems

Depression

Paralysis or weakness on one or both sides of the body

Difficulty controlling or expressing their emotions

TIME SAVED = BRAIN SAVED

Recognizing the signs and acting quickly could mean the difference between life and death, or between a full recovery and lasting disability. The National Stroke Association recommends remembering the term F.A.S.T.
This stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time.

If you suspect someone may be having a stroke, ask the person to do the following:

Face

Arm

Speech

Time

This is an easy way to quickly assess whether a higher level of care is needed.
The first onset of symptoms is critical when dealing with a stroke.

Causes and Risk Factors

Although they are more common in older adults, strokes can occur at any age. Understanding the factors that increase your risk of a stroke and recognizing the symptoms may help you prevent a stroke.

80% of strokes are preventable!

Controllable Risk Factors

High Blood Pressure: A blood pressure reading of 140/90 or above in-creases stroke risk 4-6 times

High Cholesterol: High levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream can clog arteries and cause a stroke or heart attack.

Diabetes: Diabetes increases stroke risk 2-4 times.

Tobacco Use/Smoking: Smoking doubles the risk of stroke.

Alcohol Use: Drinking more than 2 drinks per day may increase stroke risk by 50%.

Physical Inactivity or Obesity: Excess weight puts a strain on the entire circulatory system. It also makes people more likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes -- all of which can increase your risk for stroke.

Uncontrollable Risk Factors

Age. Your risk of stroke increases with age.

Gender. Stroke has a greater effect on women than men because women have more events and are less likely to recover.

Family History

Previous Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack. If you have already had a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (ministroke), you have a 25-40% chance of having another stroke in the next 5 years.

Diagnosis & Treatment

The Golden Hour

Rapid and accurate diagnosis of the kind of stroke and the exact location of its damage is critical to successful treatment. The longer treatment is delayed, the more chance of significant deficits, and the greater the likelihood that those deficits will be permanent. For this reason, the 60 minutes after the onset of stroke symptoms are known as “the golden hour.”

The reason the golden hour is so important is that there is a medication, which, if administered shortly after the onset of symptoms, can dissolve a blood clot that is interrupting the flow of blood to the brain in an ischemic stroke. This medication is called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA is a thrombolytic. This is the gold standard treatment for ischemic stroke and the only FDA-approved “clot busting” medication available for this purpose!

There are several different diagnostic tests a doctor can use to determine the type of stroke. These include:

Physical examination

Blood tests

CT scans

MRI scans

Carotid ultrasound

Cerebral angiogram

Echocardiogram

It is only possible to confirm the type of stroke using a brain scan in a hospital environment!

Emergency IV medication:

An IV injection of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator
(tPA), restores blood flow by dissolving the blood clot causing your stroke.
By quickly removing the cause of the stroke, it
may help people recover more fully from a stroke (most cases).

Emergency endovascular procedures:

Doctors sometimes treat ischemic strokes directly inside the blocked blood
vessel. These may be:

Medications delivered directly to the brain

Removing the clot with a stent retriever

Other procedures

Carotid endarterectomy

Angioplasty and stents

Emergency treatment of haemorrhagic stroke focuses on controlling the bleeding and reducing pressure in your brain caused by the excess fluid. Treatment options include:

Emergency measures. If you take blood thinning medications to prevent blood clots, you may be given drugs or transfusions of blood products to counteract the blood thinners' effects.

Surgery

Surgical clipping

Coiling (endovascular embolization)

Surgical AVM removal

Stereotactic radiosurgery

Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation

After emergency treatment, you’ll be closely monitored for at least a day. After that, stroke care focuses on helping you recover as much function as possible and return to independent living. Most stroke survivors go to a rehabilitation program. Your doctor will recommend the most rigorous therapy program you can handle based on your age, overall health and degree of disability from your stroke.

Every person’s stroke recovery is different. Depending on your condition, your treatment team may include:

Doctor trained in brain conditions

Rehabilitation doctor (physiatrist)

Rehabilitation nurse

Dietician

Physical therapist

Occupational therapist

Recreational therapist

Speech pathologist

Social worker or case manager

Psychologist or psychiatrist

LET’S FIGHT STROKE TOGETHER!

If you wish to speak to our doctor regarding stroke care, don’t hesitate to call us directly on +91 8010139903 or fill in a request ‘here‘ for us to get in touch with you.