What is Stroke?
Stroke is a brain attack. When a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds or when the blood supply to the brain is cut off stroke occurs. Rupture or obstruction stops blood and oxygen from reaching the brain tissues. The consequences of stroke can be long term disability and even death.
Health experts estimate that nearly 800,000 people experience a relatively mild or severe, relapsed or new, each year. Given that stroke is the fifth foremost reason for death in the United States, the number is staggering. Strokes happen every 40 seconds in the United States, and one person dies from a stroke every four minutes. However, Stroke survivors may experience some disabilities. It is a major cause of disability in the United States.
This article will explain why stroke occurs and how to treat it. We also describe the treatment and risk factors of strokes and the precautions people can take.
Causes of Strokes
Generally, the common cause of strokes is the thickening or narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the brain.
Our arteries tend to get stiffer, narrower, and weaker with age, but some people are also at high risk. Still, some people are also at high risk, especially people suffering from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes (or a family history of heart disease or diabetes), heavy drinkers, people who do not exercise regularly, and smokers.
There are two types of strokes:
- Ischemic stroke is caused by an obstruction (usually a blood clot) in one artery that supplies blood to the brain. Blood clots form in these arteries and vessels elsewhere in the body and can move to the brain. Due to the accumulation of fat deposits (cholesterol) in the lining. Ischemic stroke accounts for 87% of all strokes.
Stroke affects the brain, not the heart, but people with arrhythmias (atrial fibrillation) have a higher risk. Arrhythmias can cause blood clots in the heart, travel to the brain, and cause a stroke.
- Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when one blood vessel that supplies the brain ruptures, causing bleeding. This type of stroke leads to pressure and damage to the brain. The most common cause is high blood pressure. That damages and weakens the arteries, making them easier to tear.
A ruptured aneurysm (swelling of a balloon-like artery) can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke in some people. When an aneurysm ruptures and causes bleeding on the brain’s surface, it is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).
Serious head injuries can also cause hemorrhagic stroke.
Generally, the most common and manageable risk factors for stroke are:
- High cholesterol
- Atrial fibrillation
- High blood pressure
- Poor circulation
- Lack of physical activity
Heart conditions such as holes in the heart (patent foramen ovale), atrial fibrillation, and valvular heart disease can also be potential causes of stroke.
Less common risk factors to consider when strokes occur in young adults (under the age of 50) include illicit drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines, ruptured aneurysms, and genetic (inherited) blood clotting abnormalities are susceptible.
Genetic susceptibility to stroke occurs in a rare disorder called homocystinuria. In this disorder, the level of chemical homocysteine in the body is too high. Scientists are trying to determine if high homocysteine levels of non-hereditary seizures of any age can cause a stroke.
For stroke diagnosis, your doctor will ask you and your family about your symptoms and what you were doing when the symptoms occurred. They will review your medical history to find stroke risk factors.
They will also:
- Ask which medicine you are taking
- Check your blood pressure
- Listen to your heart
A physical exam performed by your doctor will evaluate your.
- Vision issues
- Numbness in your arms, face, or legs
- Signs of confusion
The doctor then performs several tests to confirm the diagnosis of the stroke. These tests will help you decide if you have had a stroke.
- What could be the reason
- Which part of the brain is affected
- If there is bleeding in the brain
Be prepared and know how to react
Stroke symptoms are serious and sudden. The signs can easily be missed. You need to trust your instinct and react quickly. Do not wait to see if symptoms will go away. Time matters and immediate action can prevent brain damage and long-term disability.
How to Recognize Signs of Stroke: B E F A S T
B: Balance- Loss of balance, dizziness
E: Eyes – vision changes
F: Face- facial dropping, severe headache
A: Arms – weakness, numbness
S: Speech – trouble speaking, confusion
T: Time – call the paramedics or 911
React. Don’t Regret -StrokeAwareness.com –
Other Signs and symptoms
Stroke symptoms often seem without warning. Some of the major symptoms are:
- Severe headache, possibly with an altered state of consciousness and vomiting
- Confusion, including difficulty in talking and understanding the speaking
- Vision problems in one or both eyes
- Numbness or inability to move part of the face, an arm, or a leg, especially one side of the body
- Confusion: unable to understand what is happening. Can’t think clearly or feel thrown off.
- Trouble speaking, unable to speak or slurred speech
- Sudden sensation of paralysis on one or both sides of the body, or weakness -lack of strength in the arm or leg
- Difficulty walking, such as dizziness, or lack of coordination
A stroke can cause long-term health issues. Depending on the speed of diagnosis and treatment, you may experience temporary or permanent disability after a stroke.
Some people may also come across:
- Problems with bladder or defecation control
- General weakness
- Difficult to control or express one’s emotions
It is critical to act immediately the moment a stroke is suspected. The results depend on how quickly someone receives the treatment. Prompt care also means they are less likely to suffer permanent brain damage or death.
What are the treatments?
A few people with ischemic stroke may benefit from thrombolytic therapy, which dissolves the clots that block the arteries. That treatment should be given immediately after symptoms appear (within four and a half hours). Although it can significantly decrease the effects of stroke, it is not available in all hospitals and is not appropriate for everyone.
If one of your carotid arteries is blocked or partially blocked, you may benefit from surgery to remove it. That procedure is called a carotid endarterectomy. Your doctor will discuss your eligibility for this process with you.
If the stroke is caused by an obstruction (ischemic), you may take medications to thin the blood and reduce stickiness to reduce the risk of blood clots. You can prescribe antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin. It reduces the viscosity of the platelets and decreases the chance of blood clots forming. Alternatively, you can take anticoagulants such as warfarin, which work by stopping the chemical processes that form blood clots.
If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you will receive medications to lower and control your levels. Many medicines help control blood pressure, and most people take multiple medicines. That medicine is always customized to your requirements and is the best medicine.
If you have high blood cholesterol, statins may be suggested. They prevent the production of cholesterol and reduce the possibility of blood clots forming. Quitting smoking and a healthy, balanced diet are two things that improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
People who experienced a stroke have a higher risk of having a stroke, so it’s essential to reduce it.
Prognosis of Stroke
Stroke can lead to results ranging from complete recovery (without permanent disability) to death.
After emergency treatment and checking, stroke care focuses on helping you regain as many functions as possible.
If you have a persistent disability from a stroke, the affected function may depend on the appearance of the brain where the stroke arose.
Strokes on the left side of the brain tend to affect the right side of the body and can also affect speech and language. Strokes on the right side of the brain tend to affect the movements and sensations on the left side of the body.
Most stroke patients participate in a rehabilitation program. A recovery program can begin before you leave the hospital. The plan considers overall priorities in health, stroke disability, rehabilitation, and lifestyle and support systems.
Strokes cannot be prevented entirely because certain things that increase the risk cannot be changed. These include:
Age: strokes are more likely to occur in people aged 55 and over, but data shows that every 4th stroke occurs in younger adults
Gender: Statistics show that more women have a stroke than men. In addition, more women die from stroke than breast cancer every year.
Family history: If a close relative (parent, grandfather, siblings) has a stroke, the risk may be higher.
Ethnicity: For South Asian, African, or Caribbean countries, these groups may also have a higher incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure, increasing the risk of stroke.
Medical history: If you have had a previous stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), or heart attack, you are at high risk for stroke.
However, lifestyle changes to avoid problems such as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure can significantly reduce the risk of stroke.
If you think your heartbeat is irregular, you should also see a doctor. It can be a sign of atrial fibrillation, which raises the risk of stroke.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
Depending on the cause, the patent should be constantly clinically monitored past the critical period and stick with her or his medications and diet. Before and after discharge from the hospital, kinesitherapy should be initiated to control and manage sequelae including paralysis, stiffness etc.
Stress relief technics and medications should be considered if necessary. In addition, the social and physical environment should be modified or adapted to any disability that stems from the stroke.
On the way to recovery, there are several accessories, including hand exercise rehabilitations items, muscle stimulators https://amzn.to/3iTmhhV, and walkers https://amzn.to/3IR69rK that are very helpful to stoke patients.
In addition, speech therapist should be consulted when stroke results in speech or oral communication difficulties.
Remember: Educating Yourself About Stroke Can be Life-Changing!