A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is disrupted, which prevents the tissues in the brain to not receive oxygen and nutrients. The brain cells begin to die within minutes. Stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment. Early treatment can reduce brain damage and other complications.
The symptoms of a stroke are as follows
- Impaired Speech
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the face or on one side of arms or legs
- Difficulty seeing with one or both eyes
- Lack of balance and coordination while walking
The symptoms of a stroke appear and disappear quickly. Therefore, it is essential to think ‘FAST’.
- Face – Is there a drop in one side of the face?
- Arms – Is the person experiencing difficulty or is unable to raise either one or both arms?
- Speech – Is their speech slurred?
- Time – If the person is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, they must be taken to a hospital without delay.
When a person has a blockage in a blood vessel in the brain, it is called an Ischemic stroke. If a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures, it is called a Hemorrhagic stroke. In some people, the circulation to the brain might temporarily stop, which is known as a Transient Ischemic Attack. Its symptoms are temporary and eventually disappear.
There are many risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease, medical history of stroke in the family, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, poor lifestyle, etc. Stroke is usually seen in people above 50 years of age
In order to diagnose a stroke, blood tests, blood pressure tests, CT scans, MRI, ultrasound, echocardiogram, cerebral angiogram are recommended to the patient according to their medical condition.
There has been a significant improvement in treatment methods for stroke. These include clot-busting injections given within four and a half hours after a stroke, as well as Mechanical thrombectomy, which is a procedure performed within six hours of a stroke. These treatment methods help remove the clot and also stops the damage to cells and blood vessels.
In order to minimize the risk of stroke, it is essential to control high blood pressure, lowering the amount of cholesterol and fat in the diet, managing diabetes, avoiding habits such as smoking and drinking, exercising regularly, including fruits and vegetables in the diet, and treating obstructive sleep apnea if the patient has it, etc. This disease which was previously was seen in people in their fifties, is now seen in people in their thirties and forties. Hence, adopting preventive measures can play a monumental role in curbing the risk of stroke.
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