A stroke is a condition that occurs when there is a reduction in the flow of blood to the brain. This could be as a result of an obstruction in the vessel, or due to the rupture of vessels that supplies the brain. The reduction of the blood flowing to the brain implies that essential nutrients, such as glucose and oxygen would not get to the brain. The brain cannot survive for long without the oxygen and nutrients. Stroke is a condition that requires urgent management. The earlier the patient is managed, the better the prognosis. There are two main types of stroke; these are ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. On the one hand, ischemic stroke occurs due to the reduction or lack of flow of blood. On the other hand, a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is bleeding in the brain. These conditions lead to the impairment of the functions of the brain. Some of the signs and symptoms of this disease include difficulty speaking and understanding words. Patients also present with confusion. Other symptoms associated with this disease include the paralysis of the body parts, such as the extremities, face, headache, impairment of the eyes and so on. Some complications of the condition have also been identified such as the loss of bladder control, and infections like pneumonia. There are many factors that contribute to the development of stroke. Some of them include hypertension, smoking, obesity, previous heart diseases, congenital diseases and so on. Physicians diagnose this condition by evaluating the signs and symptoms presented by the patient. In addition, they also carry out other tests such as CT and MRI scan. Other tests such as ECG might also be done, to detect the possible causes of the disease. There are various ways of reducing the risk of developing stroke. Doctors advise persons that have had the stroke or have a high risk of developing the disease to constantly use medications like aspirin, statins, warfarin and so on. The patient would also have to undergo special rehabilitation sessions, to improve recovery. Researchers are working on ways in using shock waves to improve the symptoms of this medical condition.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Stroke?
It’s important to get familiar with the following signs and symptoms that are commonly presented by persons affected with stroke. As the earlier the individual gets treatment, the better their prognosis. Below are some of them;
- Difficulty understanding and speaking: People affected with stroke do have a hard time speaking. Sometimes their words become slurred when speaking. In addition, they find it difficult understanding when people speak to them.
- A headache: A lot of patients experience a thunderous headache, before developing a stroke. This mostly occurs when the patient has a brain aneurysm, prior to developing stroke. In addition, they may also present with symptoms such as dizziness and vomiting.
- Difficulty walking: Persons affected with stroke have it difficult walking. They experience a lack of balance and coordination when walking.
- Paralysis of the face and extremities: This is a condition in which an individual affected with stroke presents with the paralysis of the face, legs, hands, and so on. This mostly affects just one side of the body. Also, one side of the person’s mouth might droop you try to smile.
- Agitation and hallucination: These symptoms are more common in women than in men. They present with some behavioral
When Should You Consult a Physician?
If you notice anyone presenting with stroke signs and symptoms, you should be swift to call an ambulance and take me to the hospital. Below are some of the things you would see;
- Face: If you notice that the individual has a drooping face, you should get medical help immediately. You can do this by asking the patient to smile; you’d notice the droop.
- Arms: Another way to know is by asking the patient to raise their two arms. Persons affected with stroke would not be able to raise the two arms You’d notice that the patient won’t be able to raise one arm.
- Speech: You should also ask the patient to repeat a phrase after you. The patient would speak with a lot of slurred words. This is one of the signs that you should call the emergency line.
- Time: You should call for help immediately you notice as soon as you notice these symptoms. The earlier they get help, the better the outcome of the treatment.
The above can be made into an acronym “FAST,” which stands for face, arms, speech and time. They should all be put into consideration when dealing with someone that you think is presenting with stroke symptoms.
What Are the Causes of Stroke?
The causes of stroke mainly depend on the type the patient has. There are two main types of stroke. These are an ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. There is also the transient ischemic stroke in which the patient would present with stroke symptoms and recover within a day. This type doesn’t cause permanent damages to the brain. Below are the types of stroke and their causes;
- Ischemic stroke: This is a condition in which the patient develops stroke due to an obstruction in the vessels that supply the brain. This could be a thrombus. They could also be due to the accumulation of fatty particles in the brain. They cause a severe reduction in blood flow to the brain.
- Embolic stroke: An embolus is a blood clot particle that travels from another part of the body to lodge in the brain vessels.
- Hemorrhagic stroke: This is a condition in which the vessels that supply to the brain ruptures. This leads to the reduction of blood to the brain. This could occur as a result of conditions like an aneurysm, trauma, uncontrolled hypertension, prolonged use of anticoagulants and so on.
How Is Stroke Treated Currently?
The main aim for the management of patients with this condition is to first, stabilize the patient. A complete evaluation of the patient is then performed. As said earlier, the prognosis of stroke is mostly dependent on how fast the affected gets help. Physicians do administer medications like tissue plasminogen activator, surgery and so on.
En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Stroke. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke [Accessed 25 Dec. 2017].
Fisher, M. (2009). Stroke/International Stroke Conference Collaboration. Stroke, 40(6), pp.1947-1947.