All about Stroke
A stroke or a brain
attack is a life-threatening disease in which the supply of blood to the brain
is cut off either due to a clot or the bursting of a blood vessel. As the
oxygen levels drop, the brain cells rapidly start dying within minutes. This
affects the particular body part with which the dying brain cells are
Strokes can lead to
lasting brain damage, disability, or even death. Having an estimated occurrence
of 105-152 / 1,00,000, Strokes are a grave concern in India, making them one of
the leading causes of death and disability.
Now let us have a look
at the causes of stroke.
Causes of Stroke
attribute lifestyle choices and other comorbidities to an increased risk of
being susceptible to a stroke. Following is the list of some common reasons
behind a stroke:-
- Individuals who have crossed 55 years of age
- Previous history of stroke
- Blood Pressure (BP) Issues
- Comorbidities such as Diabetes
- High Cholesterol levels
- Heart diseases
- Lead a sedentary lifestyle
- Use of tobacco or drugs
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Medical studies list
three possible types of stroke:-
Ischemic stroke occurs
due to a possible blood clot in the blood vessels or narrowing of the arteries
in the brain. This hinders the blood supply to the brain, causing a lack of
oxygen which leads to a stroke.
Ischemic strokes are
further divided into two types- Cerebral embolism and Cerebral
A Cerebral embolism occurs due to a blood clot in the upper
chest, neck, or heart. This blood clot finds it difficult to pass through the
narrow arteries of the brain resulting in a stroke.
A Cerebral thrombosis occurs due to the deposit of fatty plaque in
the blood vessel.
A transient ischemic
stroke, as the name suggests, is an ischemic stroke that is temporary. This
occurs in blood clots in the vessels and lasts only for a few minutes or hours.
The symptoms are
similar to that of a permanent stroke, but once the blockage is removed, the
brain resumes its normal functioning. Studies suggest that people who get a TIA
are likely to have a major stroke within a year. Hence, they are also known as
occurs when a blood artery in the brain ruptures. This may happen due to the
use of blood thinning medicines or excessive blood pressure.
strokes are less common than ischemic strokes, they are extremely dangerous
since the leaked blood fills the brain, causing it to swell.
It is necessary to
know the symptoms of a stroke so that medical health professionals can be
contacted as soon as possible and the necessary treatment is initiated at the
Signs and symptoms of
Difficulty in Communication: The patient may have difficulty comprehending speech and may
speak slur words.
Paralysis or Numbness: The patient experiences paralysis in the legs, arms, and neck.
Raise both the hands of the patient and if one side drops, then it can be a
symptom of a stroke. Another noticeable trait is that one side of the face
drops when smiling.
Blurred Vision: The patient may be confused and have trouble seeing from one or
Severe Headache: Severe Headache accompanied by dizziness and vomiting is
another sign of stroke.
Loss of Balance: There can be a loss of coordination or dizziness, which causes
trouble in walking or maintaining balance.
To avoid any major
complications, the patient should receive treatment within 4 hours from the
onset of a stroke.
There are a number of
diagnostic tests that can be done by medical professionals to determine the
severity of a stroke:-
Physical Examination: Doctors will examine the physical symptoms. They will also
check for blood vessels behind the eyes and neck.
Blood Tests: Blood tests can be performed to determine the clotting factor
and check for other high-risk substances in the blood.
CT Scan:CT Scans can reveal haemorrhages, strokes, etc., in the brain.
MRI scan: An
image of the brain can be created to determine any possible changes in brain
parenchyma immediately or rupture of blood vessel.
Carotid Ultrasound: Medical professionals can also check for clots or plaques in
the carotid arteries.
Cerebral Angiogram: Dyes may be injected into the brain’s blood vessels to get a
more comprehensive view of any blockage.
Echocardiogram: Heart tests can be performed to check for any possible clots
that might have travelled to the brain.
The treatment depends
on the severity and the type of stroke. Below are the three common treatments
Medications for a stroke depend on the type of stroke. An ischemic stroke needs
removal of thrombus by medicine given in 4 hours, whereas a hemorrhagic stroke
needs clot evacuafion. A common medication to Thromdyse the clot is tissue
plasminogen activator (tPA) which should be administered within 4 hours from
the onset of a stroke.
can be done either Removal of Clot & Clipping of aneurysms (outpouching in
blood venelsy brain which bursts)
Stents/Coiling/Clamping: These procedures can be used to either remove the clot or block
the aneurysm / diverting the flow.
While brain stroke is a fatal,
life-threatening issue, observing the symptoms and consulting a medical
professional well within time can save an individual from any prolonged
repercussions. Many top hospitals also offer emergency wards and ambulances
that help administration of treatment to the sufferer as soon as
one’s lifestyle and diet can also alleviate our health and save us from such
Dr. Krishna Hari Sharma
MS (Gen. Surgery), M.Ch (Neuro Surgery)
Neurosurgeon & Spine Surgeon
Metro MAS Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan