Stroke Symptoms and Treatment

StrokeStroke occurs when a part of the brain is damaged due to blood supply disruption and, as a result, it exacerbates the physical or mental functions of the affected area. Disorders can occur due to one of three types of vascular disorders: thrombosis, embolism or bleeding (hemorrhage).

Cerebral thrombosis can occur if some of the arteries that supply the brain with the blood narrows, usually due to atherosclerosis. The flow of blood through the narrowed and uneven part of the artery is so much worse that the blood is forming a clot (thrombus) that partially or completely clogs the artery.

Celebral embolism is also a clogging, but the difference is that it appears when a small blood clot (embolus) gets in the bloodstream (due to an illness in another part of the body) and travels through it until it ”stucks” in one of the arteries that supply the brain with the blood. In brain bleeding (cerebral hemorrhage) the artery is not blocked, but it bursts. Blood flows into the surrounding brain tissue until high blood pressure and blood clotting stop the process. The initial effects of bleeding may be more severe than the effects of thrombosis or embolism, but the long-term effects of all types of stroke are similar. The consequences of stroke, regardless of the cause, depend on what part of the brain is mostly affected.

Symptoms

If you experience a stroke, it may happen that you wake up and find that you can not speak or move a part of the body; if you are conscious, you can also feel how your hand or foot becomes heavy and useless. Sometimes, the stroke begins with a sudden loss of consciousness. Among the many other symptoms we include numbness, blurred or double vision, disorientation and dizziness. It often affects functions on one side of the body, since in such cases the damage is usually limited to one side of the brain – when that happens, the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and the left side of the brain is the right side of the body.

On the surface of each side of the brain there are specific areas that control certain parts of the body or functions such as vision, movements, and speech. There is certain regularity regarding symptoms indicating which brain arteries do not “work” properly. For example, you may feel weakness or numbness in your hand or fist or on one side of the face. If one of the key control centers is hit, e.g. a brain stem (which connects the brain and spinal cord), a complex combination of symptoms or a loss of consciousness may appear. In any case, the symptoms in contrast to the symptoms of prolonged seizures, ischemia, last for at least 24 hours, and usually much longer.

Frequency

In western countries, stroke causes more deaths than any other group of disorders other than heart disease; both problems are often the result of atherosclerosis. In Britain, stroke affects (in average) one person  out of 500 every year. In most cases, those are people over 65 of age (mostly men) whose blood vessels are narrowed down due to atherosclerosis and who often have high blood pressure. Abnormally high blood pressure may at any time cause stroke as it weakens the artery walls and stimulates the formation of blood clots; in fact, a high blood pressure is the main cause of bleeding in the brain.

Whether your blood pressure is dangerously high or not, the likelihood of stroke increases if you are a passionate smoker. A stroke also affects people with diabetes and people with high blood cholesterol levels more often.

Dangers

Approximately one-third of stroke is fatal, one-third causes permanent damage or disability, while the remaining third has no long-term undesirable consequences. A person who survives stroke may be partially paralyzed for months before a visible improvement occurs. Even a mild stroke warns us about danger – it can be the first attack on a series of heavier strokes.

What to do?

If you notice any signs of a stroke, seek medical help immediately. Except in very mild cases where weakness, numbness or dizziness can last only one day or two, people who have experienced stroke should usually be placed in a hospital. To fully assess the situation, the doctor will probably need an electrocardiogram (EKG) and an X-ray of the skull and the chest. While treating all three basic forms of stroke is actually the same, sometimes different tests are needed to determine the cause and the location of the disorder. If it is reasonably believed that stroke is a consequence of cerebral embolism, the doctor will need special X-ray images of the cervix (carotid artery charts) since in some cases a surgical procedure may be used to prevent further stroke if a possible source of embolism is found in the cervical artery.

If someone loses consciousness in front of you, it may be because of a stroke. Regardless of the cause, apply the first aid measures while waiting for help. Do not forget that in the case of a stroke the seemingly unconscious person often feels what is happening around it. So, do not panic, try to be calm and aslo calm down the affected person.

Treatment

Self-help: if you got hit by a stroke, then there is nothing you can do. However, you can greatly contribute to preventing the stroke or preventing reappearing. Regularly check your blood pressure. If the blood pressure is high, do not forget to take the medication prescribed by your doctor. Do not smoke or eat fatty food too much, and do some moderate physical activities.

Professional help: the physician must first assess the severity of the seizure and perform the necessary procedures for maintaining life, i.e. maintaining breathing and circulation. However, most people received in the hospital due to stroke are not unconscious; they need a physical therapy with a focus on re-establishing the function of the affected parts of the body. Extreme patience and support is often needed, both physically and morally, to help the patient to gradually “learn” previous skills.

The nerves of a heavily damaged part of the brain cannot be regenerated. However, the undamaged part of the brain can be “teached” to take control of the affected function, and such “teaching” is the goal of most rehabilitation programs. If, for example, stroke affected your feet, you will probably be doing exercises – from parallel rods over walking with a box or stick to free walking without help. Over time, in the process, which may take a long time after you leave the hospital, cousins ​​and friends may be included. If the stroke affected your speech, the speech therapist will teach you vocalizations and pronouncements, and the skills that you have experienced as natural before the stroke, such as breathing.

Preventing further strokes is obviously very important. The doctor will warn you not to smoke, and you will probably need to take regular medicines, e.g. beta-blockers or diuretics, to lower your blood pressure. If it is found that a stroke has occurred in your case due to embolism, the tests may show that the source of the embolus is rubbing the surface of the cranial artery surface that is suppressed due to the build up of atherosclerotic plaques. This part of the artery can often be found, cleansed and opened. The operation is performed under general anesthesia and is usually successful; it reduces the likelihood of stroke from the same source. If the surgical procedure can not be performed, your doctor may prescribe lifelong administration of anticoagulants to prevent the formation of clots.