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Stroke is also called a cerebrovascular accident or brain attack. It is a clinical syndrome caused due to the reduced blood supply to a part of the brain. Lack of oxygen and nutrients owing to impaired blood supply causes the death of the brain cells in the affected part. Stroke is a medical emergency and therefore it requires quick and prompt treatment to minimize brain damage and potential complications.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The signs and symptoms of stroke include:
To screen the stroke outside the hospital, FAST tool is used. According to this, any sudden changes such as; Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, suggests it is Time to call emergency services. In such condition immediate medical attention is required to save the patient’s life.
Stoke can occur in following ways:
Transient ischemic attack
Lifestyle risk factors
Medical risk factors
Other risk factors
Depending upon the duration of brain injury and location of the brain affected, stroke may cause temporary or permanent disabilities.
Complications of stoke include:
The doctor performs the following tests to diagnose stroke.
Physical examination: The doctor may discuss with patient or patient’s attendant regarding the onset and duration of symptoms and then evaluates the patient’s current condition.
Blood tests: There are various blood tests performed to obtain significant information which is helpful in the management of stroke such as, blood clotting time, blood sugar level, imbalances in levels of critical chemicals and enzymes in the blood and presence of any infection.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan: In this procedure, the doctor injects a dye into the patient’s bloodstream to view the blood vessels in neck and brain (computerized tomography angiography). A CT scan uses X-rays to create a detailed image of the brain and to detect the presence of hemorrhage, or tumor.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): In this test, the doctor injects a dye into the patient’s blood vessel to view the arteries and veins and highlight the blood flow (magnetic resonance angiography, or magnetic resonance venography). An MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnetic fields to obtain a detailed image of the brain which may help to detect ischemic stroke and brain hemorrhages.
Carotid ultrasound: This imaging test helps to assess the blood flow and identify fatty deposits (plaques) in the carotid arteries.
Cerebral angiogram: In this test, the doctor inserts a catheter in the blood vessels and injects a dye. This helps in assessing the blood flow through the arteries in the neck and brain.
Treating a patient with stroke is very crucial and is a medical emergency. Based on the type and severity of stroke, it can be treated with the following medicines or surgery:
Carotid endarterectomy: The surgeon may clear the plaques from the blood vessels in the neck and brain using this method.
Angioplasty and stents: The surgeon treats the blocked artery by inflating a balloon which expands the artery, followed by inserting the stent.
Surgical blood vessel repair: The doctor may recommend this procedure in case of hemorrhagic strokes to repair the blood vessel abnormalities. Surgical blood vessel repair is done in several ways such as surgical clipping, coiling (endovascular embolization), surgical AVM removal, intracranial by-pass and stereotactic radiosurgery.
Stroke recovery and rehabilitation
This therapy starts in the hospital before discharge. The doctor will consider the patient’s lifestyle, interests and priorities, and the availability of family members or other caregivers to plan therapy accordingly. This therapy helps the patient to recover from the effects of paralysis and patient will be able to walk in regular pattern and speed, coordinate the movements and regains muscle strength and control.
Stroke may be prevented by following ways:
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