Stroke is a condition that occurs whenever the blood supply to certain parts of the brain becomes interrupted or extremely reduced. When this happens, the brain tissues are deprived of nutrients and oxygen. Within minutes, the cells in the brain will start to die.
This condition is considered a medical emergency and requires prompt treatment. With early intervention, brain damage as well as other potential complications is minimized. The good thing is that this condition can be treated and prevented.
Signs and Symptoms Indicating Stroke
There are classic signs that can indicate a stroke. You should watch out for these signs and symptoms in case you or someone else is experiencing stroke.
- Face Drooping. One sided facial drooping is a classic sign of stroke. If you think someone is experiencing stroke, you can ask this person to smile. If he or she is experiencing stroke, his or her smile will be uneven.
- Arm Weakness. A classic sign of stroke includes weakness on the arms and legs on one side of the body. Take a simple test to identify this symptom by racing both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm starts to fall, you may be experiencing a stroke.
- Speech Difficulty. This is another classic sign of stroke. A person who is having a stroke will experience confusion and his or her speech will become slurred or difficult to understand.
- Sudden and severe headache which may be accompanied by dizziness and vomiting may indicate that you are having a stroke.
- Trouble with Mobility. Loss of balance and coordination may indicate a stroke.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms disappear or appear fluctuating.
What Causes Stroke?
A stroke may be caused by a leaking blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke) or a blocked artery (ischemic stroke.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs whenever the blood vessel in the brain ruptures and leaks. Brain hemorrhage may result from various conditions like high blood pressure and aneurysms. Ischemic stroke, on the other hand, occurs when the arteries leading to the brain becomes blocked or narrowed, resulting to severely reduced blood flow to the brain. Such condition may result from a blood clot formation in the arteries.
Complications of Stroke
Stroke can cause permanent or temporary disabilities, depending on the length of time when the brain was deprived of proper blood flow and oxygenation. The complications of this condition may include paralysis of one side of the body or perhaps the loss of control of certain muscles. Physical therapy is prescribed to help alleviate this complication.
Difficulty taking or swallowing, memory loss and thinking difficulties and emotional problems are the other known complications of this condition.
Diagnosing a Stroke
To determine the most suitable treatment plan for a stroke, the health care team will need to evaluate the type of stroke as well as the affected areas of the brain. Diagnostic tests like CT or computerized tomography scan, cerebral angiogram, physical examination, blood tests, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be required.
Treatment Options for Stroke
The treatment option for stroke will depend on the type of stroke that the person is experiencing. For ischemic stroke, treatment aims to quickly restore the blood flow to the brain. Health care providers may prescribe clot busting medications like aspirin and intravenous injections of tissue plasminogen activator. In severe cases, mechanical removal of the clot may be indicated. For hemorrhagic stroke, treatment focuses on the proper management of the bleeding, which will significantly reduce the pressure on the brain. Medication like warfarin may be prescribed. In severe cases, surgical repair of the blood vessel may also be required.