Stroke: It’s Important To Be Informed
An unpredictable danger, stroke or brain attack can occur anytime in anyone, including children. A stroke happens when the blood flow to an area of brain gets cut of, leading to deprivation of oxygen and death of brain cells.
This happens due to two reasons:
1. When a blood clot or plaque blocks a blood vessel
2. When a blood vessel breaks or ruptures, especially due to high blood pressure (hypertension)
When the cells die, abilities and functions controlled by that particular area of the brain are lost permanently.
A stroke can be major or minor, depending on the extent of caused to the brain. A person who suffered a minor stroke may experience only temporary weakness of an arm or leg; whereas a person who had a major stroke may become paralysed for life or lose the ability to speak.
Though most of the survivors recover well (some even fully), worldwide estimates say that two third of them end up with lifelong disabilities.
High Alert: Symptoms Of Stroke
Stroke: Every Second Counts
Time is the most crucial factor when it comes to treatment of strokes. The person will keep losing around 1.9 million neurons per minute if there’s a continued obstruction in blood flow to the brain, which in turn might lead to permanent loss of abilities/ functions like memory, speech and muscle control.
The following are the symptoms that call for immediate medical help. Remember, these symptoms appear all of a sudden, so PLEASE DO NOT WAIT.
When a blood vessel in the brain bursts or leaks, the blood spills into the brain, causing swelling, pressure and obstruction in oxygen delivery. This results in damage of brain cells and tissue; and can prove fatal if left untreated.
Hemorrhagic strokes can be caused due to various disorders that affect the blood vessels, including prolonged high blood pressure (hypertension), aneurysms and arteriovenuous malformations.
What is Cerebral Aneurysm?
A weak spot in the wall of an artery that expands and bursts, cerebral aneurysms lead to blood leaks in the brain.
A burst aneurysm can be caused by high blood pressure (hypertension) or trauma (a sudden injury to the head).
What Is Arteriovenuous Malformation (AVM)?
A tangled mass of blood vessel present from birth, AVMs can occur anywhere in the body, including the brain and spine. The AVM gets bigger and weaker as the person gets older. If an AVM in the brain bursts, the person will get a hemorrhagic stroke.
There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes, based on their location in the brain: Intracerebal and Subarachnoid.
When an artery within the brain bursts, causing blood leak the brain, it is called intracerebral haemorrhage. The most common causes of this condition are high blood pressure (hypertension), ageing blood vessels and AVMs.
When there is bleeding in the subarachnoid space (there are 3 layers of membrane or meninges that cover the brain. The subarachnoid space is the area between the layer closest to the brain and the second layer).
This type of stroke, which is mostly caused by burst aneurysms, can also be a result of:
The most common type of stroke, an ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot.
This can occur in two ways:
1. Embolic Stroke
This happens when a blood clot or plaque fragment formed in the body (usually the heart) travels to the brain, lodges in a blood vessel and blocks the blood flow.
2. Thrombotic Stroke
This occurs when a clot (thrombus) formed inside an artery supplying blood to the brain blocks the blood flow. There are two types of blood clots that cause this condition:
(a) Large Vessel Thrombosis
(b) Small Vessel Disease
Thrombotic Stroke is usually seen in people with high cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis.
Minor or Mini Stroke
If the symptoms of the stroke last for only a few minutes or less than 24 hours, it is called a Trans Ischemic Attack (TIA) or mini/ minor stroke.
Trans Ischemic Attack
When the blood flow to part of the brain stops for a very short period of time, it is called transient ischemic attack or TIA.
A warning sign/ indicative that the person is likely to suffer a real stroke within 3 months, TIA presents stroke-like symptoms that last less than 24 hours. TIAs do not usually cause permanent brain damage, but should not be ignored.
Stroke: The After-Effects
The after-effects of a stroke can be temporary or lifelong. From physical disabilities to loss of vital functions to depression, strokes can be devastating.
The common physical after-effects of stroke include weakness, numbness and stiffness.
The other conditions include:
Stroke can have hidden after-effects like emotional changes due to physical effects of brain damage including: Anxiety
Effects On Cognition
Damage to the brain after a stroke can cause many changes to cognition or the process of thinking, knowing and understanding things.
This may include:
Recovering From A Stroke
Life After Stroke
Strokes can have devastating after-effects on the body and mind, no doubt. But with timely treatment, a comprehensive rehabilitation plan and major alterations in lifestyle, one can expect to get back to achieve the best possible outcome.
The recovery period depends on the intensity of the attack, some survivors may take years to learn, re-learn and improve. However, it is the support from the caregivers that make all the difference and hasten the healing process – stroke survivors need to be approached with patience, compassion, understanding and love so that they regain the will to live.
Besides, patients also need to take care of the following to prevent further attacks:
Aster Stroke Clinic
An advanced facility with a 24-hour emergency wing for all stroke care.
Aster Stroke Clinic: Act FAST
A dedicated facility that offers comprehensive stroke care (including 24/7 emergency services) and personalised post-stroke rehabilitation, the Aster Stroke Clinic is led by a team of highly-trained experts comprising Neurologists, Neurosurgeons, Interventional Neuroradiologists and Neuropsychologists.
The Clinic aims to create awareness on stroke and identifying stroke
symptoms through its “FAST” concept, which is:
F – Face weakness
A – Arm weakness
S – Speech difficulties
T – Time is crucial, call: 155218 for all stroke emergencies
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