Stroke is an emergency that needs immediate treatment. Giving early attention and medical treatment may lessen complications and brain damage. It’s good to know that because of the effective treatments and prevention, disability from stroke decreases, and fewer people die of stroke as compared before.
The Causes of Stroke
The two leading causes of stroke: ischemic stroke – a blocked artery and hemorrhagic stroke – bursting or leaking of a blood vessel. There is a patient who may only have the so-called TIA (transient ischemic attack), which is only a temporary disruption of blood flow to their brain and otherwise known as a ministroke.
One of the most common types of stroke is ischemic stroke. This usually occurs when the brain’s blood vessel is blocked that causes critically reduced blood flow called ischemia. The reason for the blockage in the blood vessels is because of fatty deposits build up, by blood clots and other debris that run through the bloodstream that stays in the blood vessels of your brain.
The occurrence of hemorrhagic stroke takes place when a blood vessel leaked or ruptured. The effect of brain hemorrhages may lead to conditions that could affect your blood vessels. Below are the critical factors associated with hemorrhagic stroke;
- Anticoagulants – over treatment with blood thinners
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Aneurysms – bulges at weak spots in the blood vessel walls
- Trauma caused by accidents
- Ischemic stroke that leads to bleeding
- Protein deposits in blood vessel walls
TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack)
TIA or commonly known as a ministroke is an attack that shows the symptoms similar to those experiencing a stroke but is temporary and lasts for a short time, less than five minutes. Ministroke is caused by a momentary drop of blood supply to a brain, and this does not cause permanent damage. This attack may be a warning for you if detected earlier.
Try to reach for emergency care if you are experiencing TIA. If you have TIA, this simply indicates that you have a narrowed or partially blocked arterial blood vessels directing to your brain and this is a sign that you must not ignore for you are at the risk of getting a full-blown stroke later on.
Diagnosis and Treatment
For a stroke patient, your doctor will normally ask you or your family member a few questions regarding your symptoms and the remedy or actions that you make when symptoms occur. They are going to check on your medical history for them to find out the risk factors. They will also:
- Ask you the medications you are taking
- Check and listen to your heart
- Check on your blood pressure
The specialist will also evaluate you based on the physical exam that he is going to make you perform to check on your:
- a vision if there are issues
- numbness in some part of your body
- signs of confusion
Your doctor will also prescribe tests or procedures to help him in the diagnosis of a stroke or if it is a cause of something else.
With these tests, your doctor will know:
- If it is a stroke
- The cause of such
- Which part of the brain was hit
- If there is bleeding in the brain
The Treatment for Stroke
To recover from a stroke, one needs proper medical attention and immediate treatment. If an incident like this happens, be alert to call for 911 if you think you are having a stroke or any of your loved ones does. “Time lost is brain lost,” according to American Heart Association. Don’t be a victim. Educate yourself on the ways to preventing stroke from attacking your body.
Stroke Treatment varies depending on the type of stroke that a person has.
For TIA or Ischemic stroke, since it is caused by a blockage or blood clot in the brain, this should be treated with the same techniques that include;
These clot-breaking drugs, also known as thrombolytic drugs, break up blood clots that cause a blockage that will stop the stroke and lessen the damage to the brain.
Anticoagulants and antiplatelet
It is advised that anticoagulants and antiplatelet medicines must be taken within 24 to 48 hours after the symptoms of a stroke become visible. These are usually prescribed for patients who are at risk for stroke.
Drugs like tPA or the tissue plasminogen activator or r-tPA the Alteplase IV is regarded as the gold standard in treating ischemic stroke. If given within the first 3 to 4.5 hours after the symptoms of stroke show, it will work fast in dissolving the blood clots. Those patients who were administered with tPA injection are seen to have a fast recovery from stroke and less chance of getting a permanent disability.
This procedure, also known as endovascular therapy, is performed by inserting a unique device heading through the blood vessel to pull the clot out. The success rate is high when it is done 6 to 24 hours after the stroke began.
The use of intra-arterial revascularization using stents has a favorable result for stroke victims. This stent is used whenever the artery walls have weakened, and the use of the stent is to inflate the narrowed artery and to give support to the walls.
If treatments don’t work for a stroke patient, then a doctor may perform surgery in removing plaques and blood clots to the arteries. Procedure for this involves using a catheter and maybe by opening the artery if the clot is significant to get rid of the blockage.
This type of stroke requires different treatment since the cause is by leaks or bleeds in the brain.
For hemorrhagic stroke, the goal is to make your blood clot, unlike ischemic stroke. So you will be given treatment to oppose the effect of blood thinners that you have taken. You will be given as well, medications that will lower your blood pressure, prevent blood vessel constriction, and will prevent seizures.
Another treatment for hemorrhagic stroke or aneurysm that has stopped or has not started bleeding yet, a doctor may perform a procedure to prevent more bleeding. This is done by placing a tiny clamp at the base of the affected blood vessel or aneurysm.
Coiling is done by placing a coil-like device where the artery is weak. This reduces bleeding because blood flow is blocked.
Surgery is then advised if the aneurysm burst already. A doctor clipped the aneurysm to prevent more bleeding. Also, craniotomy is performed to relieve pressure. This is done by removing temporarily a part of the bone from the skull, which is the bone flap. It is then replaced after the procedure.
Normal Conditions of Stroke
The best steps you can do to prevent a stroke from recurring is to be on a healthy lifestyle, follow your doctor’s recommendations, and to know your stroke risk factors. Also, don’t forget to be on track of the monthly schedule of your follow-up appointments to keep you monitored what’s right and what’s not. Discipline yourself and watch everything from your diet up to your daily activities.
A healthy lifestyle includes the following:
- Control your hypertension. Be treated and follow your medications to lower your blood pressure.
- Eat healthily and watch your diet. Lower your cholesterol and saturated fat intake. Focus on fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
- Quit smoking. Reduce the risk of getting a stroke by quitting smoking. You are not only harming yourself but also nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke.
- Keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. Exercise and lose weight so you can keep it healthy.
- Regular exercise will do help you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This reduces your blood pressure, improves the overall health of your blood vessels.
- Avoid illegal drugs.
- Avoid heavy consumption of alcohol, for this increases the risks.
Complications of having stroke arise when the attack is severe, and the damages depends on how long the brain has lacked blood flow and as to which part was affected.
- Difficulty swallowing or talking.
- Memory loss or difficulty in thinking
- Emotional problems
- Behavioral changes
When to Seek Medical Assistance
Signs and symptoms of a stroke are often ignored, and we must pay attention to the symptoms below to avoid serious complications brought about by a stroke. If you suspect yourself or a person is having a stroke, let him do the following:
Check his face. Ask him to smile and see whether the other side of the face droop.
Command him to raise his arms, both arms. If one arm is not raising, then it’s a sign.
Let him talk by following on what you are saying, if you hear something strange on his speech, then it’s another sign.
If any of these signs appear, then be fast and call for help.
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