Dr. Nikhil B

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Reviewed by

Dr. Nikhil B

Consultant - Neurology

Manipal Hospitals, Malleshwaram

Decoding Strokes: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Reviewed by:

Dr. Nikhil B

Posted On: Jan 02, 2024

blogs read 5 Min Read

Strokes - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Knowledge about strokes is crucial for many reasons in today’s world. Firstly, stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Secondly, awareness is key in preventing strokes. Early recognition of symptoms can significantly reduce the risk factors and certain issues can be managed through lifestyle changes and medical interventions. Knowledge about strokes also empowers individuals to recognize warning signs promptly, thereby minimizing the potential for long-term effects of strokes.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke is a critical medical condition in which the blood supply to the brain gets disrupted. It can either result from a blocked or burst blood vessel. Strokes lead to oxygen and nutrient deficiency in certain parts of the brain which can severely damage the brain cells, affecting various bodily functions. Strokes can also lead to long-term disability or even death if a patient fails to receive treatment on time.

There are 3 major types of strokes.

1. Ischemic Stroke

Obstruction of blood vessels due to a blood clot - cuts off blood flow to parts of the brain.

2. Hemorrhagic Stroke

Rupture of blood vessels - causes bleeding into the brain.

3. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain - usually lasts for a few minutes & is often called a "mini-stroke".

Risk Factors of a Stroke

There are certain modifiable and non-modifiable factors that increase the risk of strokes. Below are some major stroke risk factors.

The interplay of these risk factors creates a conducive environment for strokes. 

1. Hypertension

Hypertension strains blood vessels and makes them more susceptible to blockages or rupture. 

2. High cholesterol

High cholesterol contributes to the build-up of plaques in the arteries, narrowing them over time. 

3. Diabetes

Diabetes affects blood vessel integrity and promotes inflammation. 

4. Lifestyle choices

Lifestyle choices like smoking can develop the above conditions, further increasing the risk. 

Symptoms of a Stroke

A few warning signs and symptoms that indicate a stroke. It is important to recognize them FAST (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, Time). Some of the major stroke symptoms include,

  • Face drooping

Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the face. Ask the person to smile and check for any asymmetry.

  • Arms weakness

Sudden numbness or weakness in one or both arms. Ask the person to raise both arms and observe for any drifting or inability to lift one arm.

  • Speech difficulties

Slurred speech or difficulty speaking. Listen to them carefully, repeating a simple sentence. Notice if there is any abnormality.

  • Time

If any of these signs are observed, call emergency services immediately.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Strokes

Common diagnostic procedures used to detect strokes include:

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • Angiography

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)

A stroke is a medical emergency.  Timely intervention is critical in this condition. The first line of treatment to manage a stroke often involves clot-busting medications or surgical procedures which can minimize the damage and improve the chances of recovery.

Seeking immediate medical attention from a top neurologist or stroke specialist will significantly improve the effectiveness of interventions to save lives and prevent long-term disability.

Consult our neurology hospital in Bangalore if you need stroke treatment. 

  • Medications

Antiplatelet agents (aspirin) and anticoagulants are the common drugs prescribed by neurologists to prevent further blood clot formation. Blood pressure medications may also be administered to manage hypertension if it is on the higher side.

  • Clot-Busting Drugs (Thrombolytics)

In the management of an ischemic stroke, thrombolytic drugs like tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) are administered intravenously. These drugs help dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow to the affected area.

  • Mechanical Thrombectomy

For severe ischemic strokes, doctors will perform a mechanical thrombectomy. This involves using a catheter to remove or break up the blood clot physically.

  • Surgery

In certain cases of hemorrhagic strokes, surgical interventions become inevitable to repair or reinforce blood vessels. They help relieve the pressure on the brain and blood vessels.

  • Physical Therapy

It helps improve motor skills, strength, and coordination. Exercises are tailored to one’s abilities and may involve mobility training and balance exercises.

  • Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy helps stroke survivors regain skills needed for daily activities such as dressing, eating, and bathing. 

  • Speech Therapy

Speech therapy addresses difficulties in communication and swallowing and helps patients regain speech and language skills.

Stroke Prevention

Below are a few measures that can prevent you from having a stroke:

  • Adopt a healthy diet - Always prefer fruits and vegetables in the diet rather than processed and fatty foods. Limit your daily intake of salt and refined sugars.

  • Manage everything that is under your control - weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

  • Limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking.

  • Engage in physical activity every day. Even walking and jogging can be of great help.

  • Regularly monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and weight. Maintain a healthy range to keep the risk factors at bay. 

The preventive measures also involve keeping yourself educated about the symptoms (FAST). Additionally, regular health check-up is a must for early detection of the condition.

Consult the best neurologist in Malleshwaram at Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram, Bangalore, and be assured of receiving the finest treatment.


Look for the major risk factors of strokes to determine if you are at a higher risk. The common risk factors for stroke are - Hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, advancing age, gender (men are at a higher risk), and a family history of strokes. Take precautions and consider visiting a neurologist to lower your stroke risk.

Early recognition includes the FAST acronym — Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, and Time. If you notice any of these signs, visit the hospital immediately so that treatment can be given well on time.

Advancements in stroke care include improved treatments such as thrombectomy techniques, neuroprotective agents, telemedicine integration, and the use of AI in diagnostic procedures.

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