Do you know of someone who have or experienced this disease? It is a serious kind of disease which needs immediate intervention.
According to our health source, here are the symptoms, causes, risk factors and management of the disease.
Stroke is a form of brain attack which occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted and as a result the brain cells will be deprived of oxygen and begin to die. The memory and muscle which are controlled by the brain are lost. It is a very life-threatening disease that needs prompt medical action or intervention.
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Numbness or weakness in the face, leg or arm specially on one side.
- Trouble speaking and understanding
- Sudden or severe headache
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Problems in walking, balance and coordination
Note: Consult your doctor or physician right away if you notice any possible symptoms that may indicate a stroke in order to begin the treatment, because the earlier the treatment the higher the chance of healing. After you are diagnosed with the disease you need medical check-up with your doctor until you are well. Avoid self-medication.
What are the risk factors?
- Family history
- Heart disease
- Alcohol abuse
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- High cholesterol level
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Increasing age/older
- Overweight or obese
How can you prevent?
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating healthy diet
- Treat high cholesterol
- Exercise regularly
- Avoidance of alcoholic drinks
- Do not smoke, stop smoking
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure
- Control diabetes
- Transient ischemic stroke- clot that temporary blocks blood flow to the brain. It last for a short period of time.
- Ischemic stroke– can be embolic, the blood clot travels from another part of the body to your brain.
Thrombotic stroke- an ischemic stroke caused by clot forming in a blood vessel in your brain, the blood clot won’t go away without a treatment.
- Hemorrhagic stroke– a blood vessel in your brain ruptures.
Aneurysm hemorrhagic- causes a portion of the weak blood vessel to balloon outward and sometimes rupture.
Arteriovenous malformation- abnormally formed blood vessels, can cause hemorrhagic stroke when this blood vessel ruptures.
What are the causes?
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- caused by blood clots or other clots
- Blockages or narrowing of the arteries
- Reduce blood flow that damages brain cells
- Fatty deposits within the arteries called plaque that can cause clots
- Arteries in the brain leaking blood or bursting open.
- Blood vessels can burst and spill blood
- Ruptures may be caused by: hypertension, trauma, aneurysms and blood-thinning medications.
What are the complications?
- Speech difficulties- can affect areas of your brain which have to do with speech and swallowing and as a result you may have difficulty in writing, reading and problems in understanding what other people are talking/speaking about.
- Behavior change- having a stroke can contribute to depression or anxiety, more impulsive, more withdrawn from socializing.
- Numbness or pain- decreased sensation, affect your ability to feel or sense temperature.
- Paralysis- a stroke on the right side of the brain can affect movement on the left side of your body.
What are the Diagnostic exams or tests:
- Blood tests- to test how quickly the patient’s blood clots and to test for any infection.
- Physical exam- includes symptoms and medical history, blood pressure taking, listening to carotid arteries in the neck etc.
- CT scan- series of x-rays that can show hemorrhages, strokes, tumors, and other conditions of the brain.
- MRI scan- this is radio waves and magnets which create an image of the brain to detect damage.
- Carotid ultrasound- to check any plaque and the blood flow in the carotid arteries.
- Cerebral angiogram- in order to give a detailed view of the brain and neck blood vessels, dyes are injected into the brain’s blood vessels to make them visible under x-ray.
- Echocardiogram- an image of the heart is created to check for any sources of clots.
What are the treatments?
For TIA– includes taking medications that will help prevent future strokes.
- Includes antiplatelet- reduce the components of your blood called platelets from sticking together to form a clot.
- Anticoagulant- medications that reduce the buildup of clotting proteins.
- Carotid endarterectomy- removes plaque buildup in the carotid artery of your neck. Your doctor may recommend this surgery.
For Ischemic stroke
- Will depend on your individual medical history.
- Prescribed medications
- Your doctor can use procedures to physically remove the clot or clot busting medications to your brain. These aren’t always beneficial because your medical history may put you at risk for side effects.
- Treatment involves trying to stop bleeding in your brain
- Prescribed medications
- Surgical procedures which include surgical clipping or coiling (to keep the blood vessels from bleeding further).
Through rehabilitation, you may be able to regain lost motor function, speech and swallowing abilities, but will take time to see results.
Rehabilitation may include the following:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- You may join a support group, these group of people may be helpful to share experiences and exchange information with, regarding the disease. This can also help in reducing depression that can occur after stroke.
- Support from friends and family. They can provide you more comfort and practical support. Being with them will help you keep the motivation you need in fighting with the disease and improving your health.