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World Stroke Day – Shedding More Light

old man keeping his right hand in cheat near heart due to pain

World Stroke Day – Shedding More Light

Hello again!

This is Sasa, your Health Assistant from Treat at Home.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stroke is the “second leading cause of death and the third leading cause of disability” worldwide. It is crucial that we are aware about a serious condition like stroke and with the opportunity today, let’s dive in to know more.

What is stroke?

A stroke is a cerebrovascular accident and is a medical emergency condition where blood supply to any part of the brain is interrupted or reduced. This prevents brain tissue from getting enough oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes. Usually stroke causes long term disability, but sometimes death may occur very quickly because of the brain damage and in some occasions, death might occur gradually.

In layman’s term, a stroke is sudden loss of speech, weakness or paralysis of one side of the body. Yes, when a person gets stroke, he may fall suddenly after getting from the bed, sudden numbness or disability of any part of the body or either of the sides or the both sides gets paralysed.

Risk factors of Stroke

Risk factors for stroke differ from type to type. Most common factor is smoking, tobacco chewing, stress, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac conditions, high cholesterols, high salt and oily diet.

Let’s see the types of stroke, their cause and symptoms further.

Types of Stroke

There are 5 types of stroke, among them 3 are more common.

Ischemic Stroke

An inadequate blood supply to an organ or part of the body is called ischemia. When the ischemia happens in any artery leading to brain causes stroke which is called as ischemic stroke. This is the most common type of stroke.

Symptoms

The symptoms of ischemic stroke occurs suddenly. The most common symptoms are

– Numbness or weakness of the face, or either side of the limbs

– Confusion

– Slurred speech

– Blurred vision

– Difficulty in walking

– Loss of coordination

Causes

Blood clots, atherosclerosis (narrowing of artery), atrial fibrillation and other common causes like smoking, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, high LDL, diabetes, stress.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

When a weakened blood vessel in the brain ruptures, it starts bleeding and causes stroke. This type of stroke is called hemorrhagic stroke.

Symptoms

– Severe headache

– Vision problems

– Loss of balance and coordination.

– Weakness, inability to move or numbness in an arm or leg.

– Seizures

– Difficulty in understanding

– Slurred speech

– Confusion

– Nausea and vomiting

Causes

Aneurysms (arterial wall swelling), arteriovenous malformations, stress, high blood pressure, smoking, high LDL, diabetes, air pollution, using cocaine, alcohol, lack of sleep, obesity and blood thinning medications.

Transient Ischemic Stroke

A stroke that resolves within a few minutes. It is also called mini stroke. It requires immediate medical attention to prevent future stroke.

Symptoms

– A language disorder

– Difficulty in speaking

– Vision impairments

– Confusion

– Loss of balance

– Tingling sensation

– Dizziness

Causes

The cause of transient ischemic stroke is same as that of ischemic stroke. But it is often caused by atherosclerosis.

Brain Stem Stroke

The brain stem, located at the base of the brain is responsible for receiving and relaying information throughout the body. Brainstem is responsible for breathing, swallowing, eye movement, facial movement and sensation, hearing, heart rate, blood pressure. When there is blockage of blood between brain and brain stem, it causes stroke and it is called brain stem stroke.

Symptoms

– Muscle weakness

– Hearing and vision impairments

– Sensory impairment

– Problems with balance

– Dizziness

– Breathing difficulty

– Difficulty in chewing, swallowing, and speaking

– Impaired heart rate

– Paralysis

Causes

High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, atrial fibrillation and smoking. Similarly, brain stem strokes can be caused by a clot or a hemorrhage.

Cryptogenic Stroke

Cryptogenic stroke is a stroke of unknown cause. It is mostly ischemic and rarely hemorrhagic. Aortic valve is involed.

Symptoms

– Irregular heartbeats

– Thumping or pounding heartbeats

– A feeling that the heart is racing

– Chest discomfort

– Fainting or light-headedness

– Fatigue, shortness of breath or weakness

Causes

The most frequent vascular causes of CS are complex aortic plaques and Fabry’s disease (a genetic disease).

Diagnosis

The doctor investigates the patient for the signs and symptoms, previous health history and advice for further common hematological tests which includes liver profile, kidney profile, sugar profile, thyroid profile and cholesterol profile. Heart rate and blood pressure have to be monitored. For further accuracy CT scan, MRI scan, Electrocardiogram, Cerebral angiogram, Carotid ultrasound and Echo cardiogram are done.

Treatment

Immediately after the diagnosis, the treatment begins. IV fluids with medications like anticoagulant, antiplatelet therapy, thrombolytic and blood thinners are given.

The next step of treatments can include:

– Thrombectomy

– Stent

– Coiling

– Clamping

– Surgery

Prevention

Maintain normal blood pressure

Limit salt intake and add fruits, vegetables and whole grains and adequate water to your daily diet. Keep tracking the pressure levels.

Maintain blood sugar level

 Choose low calorie and fiber rich food, avoid carbonated drinks, and eat at regular time.

Maintain healthy body weight

Eat healthy snack, limit portion of main meal, drink enough water, reduce sugar intake, do regular physical exercises.

Practice exercises regularly

Regular practice of simple exercises at home can prevent many diseases. Aerobic exercises, pushups, squats, planks, dumbbells, skipping, walking, yoga and meditation can be practised regularly.

Quit alcohol and smoking

Rehabilitation and de-addiction specialist can help with the ways to cut alcohol and smoking.

Healthy eating

Avoid extra foods and packed food, carbonated drinks, high calorie food, high glycemic food like whole wheat, white rice, potatoes, watermelons, fries, etc. Beans, berries, egg, fish, nuts, oranges, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, yogurt, broccoli, pulses, are some of the healthy food which reduces risk of blood pressure, stroke, diabetes.

Recovery Time of a Stroke Patient

It takes about 3 to 4 months and even many years in certain cases for a stroke patient to get back to normalcy.

Home Care for Stroke Patients

– Have regular checkups, now doctors provide home visits for consultation.

Book a home nurse if the patient is in fluid, and to check the vitals regularly.

– Book a caretaker if the patient is able to feed orally. A caretaker can always stay with the patient, can engage them, and dress them regularly to prevent from developing bed sores and feed them oral medicines and food.

– Book a physiotherapist to encourage exercise rehabilitation.

– Family members can spend some quality time with the patient to give moral support.

– Stroke patient lack nutrients, so healthy diet and extra supplements should be given.

Author: Dr. Manasa

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