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Brain stroke is a potentially fatal medical condition that affects the arteries going to and from the brain. It occurs when the blood flow in an artery is blocked by clots, ruptures, or bursts, resulting in oxygen and nutrients not reaching parts of the brain. 119 to 145 in every 100,000 people could have an incident of stroke .
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in India. The stroke prevalence rate is 84 to 262 in every 100,000 people in rural areas and 334 to 424 in every 100,000 people in urban areas.
Here’s a quick overview of brain stroke, its causes, symptoms and treatment.
|Symptoms||F.A.S.T. Warning Signs, Confusion, Being sick, Numbness, Trouble walking, Headache, Trouble seeing, Dysphagia|
|Complications||Pneumonia, Brain Edema, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT), Clinical Depression, Shoulder Pain, Limb Contraction, Seizures, Bedsores|
|Causes||Obesity, Lack of exercise, Smoking, Drinking excessive alcohol, Arteries becoming narrower with age, Hypertension, High levels of cholesterol, Stress, Diabetes, Atrial fibrillation|
|Onset||Sudden weakness/numbness, Confusion, Hindered vision, Dizziness, Difficulty speaking and understanding speech, Trouble walking, Loss of coordination|
|Diagnosis||Brain scans, Swallow tests, Blood and heart tests|
|Prevention||Maintain a healthy diet, Exercise regularly, Quit smoking, Control alcohol consumption, Treat underlying medical conditions|
|Medication||Thrombolysis medication, Antiplatelet medication, Blood pressure medication, Anticoagulants, Surgical procedure, Surgery for hydrocephalus, Endovascular procedure|
Read on for a detailed overview of brain stroke and its symptoms, types, diagnosis, treatment and complications.
When the brain does not receive the blood and oxygen it requires to function, it begins to die. Therefore, look out for the following symptoms to identify if someone is having a stroke, and take immediate action :
Use the letters in F.A.S.T to identify a stroke:
Facial features like the eyes or mouth may have drooped on 1 side of the face, and the individual is incapable of smiling.
The inability to lift and hold arms steady due to numbness or weakness on 1 side of the arms.
Garbled or slurred speech, the person may be completely unable to talk despite being conscious.
Call emergency numbers such as 112 or 102 immediately after confirming these symptoms or signs.
Other stroke symptoms and signs include:
Loss of consciousness and feeling sick
Unable to process speech
Weakness or paralysis of the face and limbs on 1 side of the body
Coordination and balance loss, difficulty walking, and dizziness
A sudden, severe headache without any apparent reason
Abrupt vision loss or blurriness
Difficulty swallowing anything
Following are some parameters that determine if specific individuals are more likely to have a stroke :
Patients who had the following medical issues in the past:
These ethnicities are more likely to have a stroke:
Age also plays a vital role in determining the chances of having a stroke:
If blood relatives have had a stroke:
Additional factors that raise the risk of brain strokes include:
There are 5 types of strokes :
87% of all strokes are reportedly ischaemic strokes, thus, making it the most widespread stroke type. It occurs when a blood vessel clot obstructs the brain’s oxygen and blood flow. These blood clots usually form in parts where fatty deposits have narrowed or blocked the arteries, which is called atherosclerosis.
Also referred to as intracranial or cerebral haemorrhages, these strokes are less common. It occurs as a result of a blood vessel inside the skull rupturing and bleeding out into the brain. These vessels burst due to irregular formations or abnormally high blood pressure.
Caused due to a temporary blood clot, it is commonly known as a mini-stroke. Typically, TIAs are considered warning signs of a future stroke.
This kind of stroke occurs in the brain stem and affects both sides of the body, thus paralysing patients where they are unable to move or speak.
When the cause of a stroke cannot be determined, despite running tests, it is classified as a cryptogenic stroke.
If a person shows any of the aforementioned symptoms of a stroke, it is crucial to get the patient to a doctor as soon as possible. Strokes can cause permanent damage and even death, so immediate action is imperative to save the patient’s life.
When a potential stroke patient is admitted to a hospital, the doctors learn everything about the patient’s symptoms. Furthermore, doctors may also perform a variety of thorough physical examinations to diagnose and identify a stroke.
There are 2 kinds of brain scans used to examine the brain of a stroke patient:
MRI scans use radio waves and magnetic fields to produce a comprehensive brain image.
It is typically employed to determine symptom complications, damage location and magnitude, and for those who have recovered from a TIA.
Like an X-ray, a CT scan combines numerous images to create a detailed 3-dimensional image of the brain.
CT scans are often faster than MRI scans, thus, allowing patients to avail of the necessary treatment sooner.
Additional blood and heart tests may be performed to determine the stroke’s cause.
It produces images of the heart for the detection of any stroke-related issues.
This scan detects blockages in arteries going to and fro the brain.
Stroke patients cannot swallow food or drink water, which inadvertently ends up entering their windpipes, leading to pneumonia. Therefore, doctors conduct swallow tests on stroke patients.
Patients have a better prognosis after an ischemic stroke than a haemorrhagic stroke. Within 90 days of a TIA, stroke risks can range from 2% – 17%, the first week being the riskiest .
Doctors prescribe a combination of medications for an ischemic stroke for treatment and prevention.
After an ischemic stroke, doctors use thrombolysis medications to burst blood clots. Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) is a thrombolytic agent which increases the patient’s recovery chances.
After an ischemic stroke, antiplatelet medications are given, including:
People with high blood pressure levels are prescribed blood pressure medications, including:
Anticoagulants prevent blood clots by altering the blood’s chemical composition. These include:
Other medications, like blood thinners, may be employed to treat ischemic strokes.
Medicine, surgery, and other procedures are employed to halt internal bleeding and preserve brain tissue.
Haemorrhagic strokes are surgically treated. A metal clip is used to halt the bleeding if the cause is a burst aneurysm.
These strokes can result in hydrocephalus, which causes cerebrospinal fluid accumulation in the brain’s ventricles.
Certain haemorrhagic strokes need endovascular treatment to repair a weak or broken artery.
A few changes to one’s life can have a significant impact on their well-being. Individuals can benefit from the following tips, especially those who have already had a stroke:
Maintaining a healthy diet helps reduce stroke risks by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Have a healthy diet by following these tips:
Since obesity is a major risk factor for a stroke, frequent exercising and healthy diets work in tandem to maintain a healthy weight.
Adults should do aerobic activities, such as rapid walking or cycling, for at least 150 minutes/week. Exercising regularly also reduces cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Smoking results in the constriction of blood vessels and arteries, thus increasing the chances of developing a clot. Therefore, smoking cigarettes significantly raises the risk of having a stroke.
Non-smokers should refrain from smoking, and smokers should quit. Doctors can advise and help smokers quit.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol causes high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and weight gain.
Thus, reducing alcohol consumption is vital to reducing the risks of having a stroke. Follow these guidelines to keep your alcohol consumption in check:
People diagnosed with an illness that increases the risk of stroke must monitor any underlying issues to prevent future strokes. Follow these pieces of advice to manage underlying medical concerns:
Every doctor tries to prevent any stroke-related complications. However, they cannot be entirely avoided. A few stroke-related complications include :
Due to difficulty swallowing
Swelling of the brain
Due to the implementation of a catheter
Blood clots in the legs due to immobility
Irregular emotional reactions
Due to the lack of support for arms
Due to paralysis
Brain’s abnormal electrical activities
Formation of pressure ulcers on the body
The cost of treatment will vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity, underlying conditions, and other parameters. However, the average cost for stroke treatment is around Rs.80,600 in 6 months for 1 person.
Given the escalating expense of brain stroke treatment, it is vital to have coverage with a comprehensive health insurance plan. Navi Health Insurance can assist you in navigating through any medical emergency without depleting your life savings thanks to its 10,000+ hospitals, unlimited online doctor consultations, simple claims process, yearly check-ups, reasonable rates, and many more benefits.
Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, consult your doctor to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.
Since strokes occur internally, patients cannot perceive their symptoms. Thus, their best chances are when someone is near them to identify the symptoms.
Atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, drinking, etc., increases the risk of stroke.
Simply having a balanced diet, engaging in physical activities, and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes can lower their chances of having a stroke.
Dial emergency numbers like 102 or 112 immediately if a person is identified with the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Strokes can result in permanent disability, brain damage, or even death. Thus, they are medical emergencies that require immediate attention to prevent irreversible damages or fatalities.
Preventing Another Stroke | American Stroke Association
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