All You Need to Know about Stroke

A stroke results from a sudden interruption in blood supply in the brain. Interruption of blood supply may result from abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain. The condition may also result from bleeding into the brain tissue due to bursting of a blood vessel. It is a serious life threatening condition considered to be a medical emergency. Upon an attack, the sooner a person receives treatment the less the effects of the condition. In the United States, stroke is considered to be the 5th leading cause of death. More than eight hundred thousand people develop the condition every year. Studies indicate that one person dies every four minutes from the illness. Black people are more susceptible to the medical condition than white people. Among black people, stroke is considered to be the 3rd leading cause of death.

There are three types of strokes. Ischemic stroke is the most common and accounts for more than 85% of cases. It results from narrowing and blockage of blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. This in turn results to ischemia which is a severe reduction in blood flow. Usually, the blockages result from blood clots in the arteries. The blood clots are caused by fatty deposits on the inner walls of blood vessels. Hemorrhagic stroke is also a common medical condition. This occurs when arteries in the brain leak blood or burst open. The rupture may result from conditions such as blood thinning medications, hypertension or trauma. Hemorrhage can either be intracerebral or subarachnoid. The third type of stroke is transient ischemic attack. This is mild compared to the former conditions. However, it serves as a warning for future attacks thus should be considered a medical emergency.

What are some of the common symptoms of stroke? Some symptoms are portrayed on the face. Some of the signs to look out for include drooping of the face, mouth, or eyes. A patient may be unable to smile. Weakness of the arms is also a common symptom. A patient will not be able to lift his arms due to numbness. Slurred and garbled speech is also a common symptom. A patient will appear awake yet have difficulties in speech. Other symptoms may include dizziness, loss of balance and sudden falls. Loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes could also be an indicator. Seek immediate medical attention whenever you notice such symptoms.

The treatment method adopted depends on the type of stroke; ischemic or hemorrhagic. Treatment of ischemic stroke aims at restoring the flow of blood in the brain. The common treatment methods adopted include emergency treatment with medication. Commonly used medications include Aspirin. Aspirin prevents blood clots from forming. Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator can also be administered. TPA is injected through the veins usually on the arm. TPA helps in dissolving the blood clot causing stroke thus restoring the normal blood flow. Other emergency treatment options include administration of medications directly to the brain and mechanical clot removal. Mechanical removal involves insertion of tiny device into the brain to remove the blood clot. Treatment options adopted for hemorrhagic condition include surgical clipping, coiling, intracranial bypass and stereo tactic radiosurgery. These procedures are aimed at preventing the blood vessels from bursting thus preventing re-bleeding. With the right treatment option, stroke can be treated and your normal life restored!