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!
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
seeing in one or both
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
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:
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.
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:
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
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.
Coiling (endovascular embolization)
Surgical AVM removal
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)
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.