Stroke Overview

Stroke is a rapid and sudden damage to the brain. It is also known as brain attack. According to American Heart Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US. On an average, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds. Male are more susceptible than women.

Stroke: Sign and symptoms

Stroke can cause symptoms like weakness, numbness, slurred speech etc. Most of the strokes are painless. They can be easily diagnosed.

REMEMBER THE  6S METHOD (symptoms) TO DIAGNOSE STROKE:

  1. SUDDEN (symptoms usually start suddenly)
  2. SLURRED SPEECH (speech is not clear, as if drunk)
  3. SIDE WEAK (face, arm or leg or all three can get weak)
  4. SPINNING (VERTIGO)
  5. SEVERE HEADACHE
  6. SECONDS (note the time when the symptoms start and rush to the hospital)

Symptoms depend on which part of the brain is affected and if not treated well in time, the weakness and other neurological defects may become permanent and extremely disabling.

Age Group

Stroke is more common in adults older than 40 years. Children and babies can have stroke ex. sickle cell disease

Prevention

Control your BP, sugar and cholesterol. Stop smoking. Active lifestyle and daily exercise prevents stroke.

Severity

A patient with ischemic stroke loses 190,0000 brain cells every minute, about 14000,000,000 nerve connections are destroyed every minute and 12 km (7.5 miles) of nerve fibres are lost every minute.

Treatment

The treatment depends on which kind of stroke the patient has. Up to 85 % of all strokes are ischemic (blocked blood vessel). For ischemic brain attack, there is an option of intravenous medication called tPA (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator) available which can be given to the patient within first 3 to 4.5 hours of the symptom onset. The patients who have a blockage in a large blood vessel can be offered a procedure called mechanical thrombectomy, which involves removing the blockage in the blood vessel and restoring the blood supply. Recent trials have shown that patients do exceedingly well post mechanical thrombectomy and have a greater chance to live life independently.

Mechanical Thrombectomy

Mechanical Thrombectomy can be offered up to 24 hours from the symptoms onset but, sooner its done better the patient does.

Stroke Care

The most important part of stroke care is not the doctor or the hospital, it’s the patient! As most of the strokes are painless, patients tend to ignore their symptoms and hence delay the treatment. If the patient and the family are aware of stroke symptoms they can reach to the hospital in time and can get treated. 

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