Nervous System
Stroke
 

Overview:

  • A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced, leading to damage to its cells. 
  • Pre-stroke warning signs should be known and not ignored.
  • The most common symptom of a stroke is a sudden hemiplegia. 
  • It is very important to seek treatment immediately after symptoms appear.
  • ​One of the most important ways of prevention is to control chronic diseases and adopt healthy lifestyle.

Introduction:

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries in the brain and occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is suddenly interrupted, often due to a blockage or sudden burst of a brain artery. It is also one of the most important neurological diseases; it affects anyone but it is more common in the elderly.

Other Names:
Transient Ischemic attack – Stroke. 

Pre-stroke:
A pre-stroke, also known as transient ischemic attacks (TIA), occurs when there is a brief lack of blood flow to part of the brain with symptoms lasting for less than 24 hours, leaving no permanent disabilities; it is a serious warning sign that a stroke may occur in the future and should not be ignored. The reason is usually:
  • Decreased blood flow in a narrow part of the main artery that carries blood to the brain (such as: carotid artery).
  • A blood clot travels from another part of the body (such as heart) to the brain.
  • Blood veins in the brain are narrowed leading to difficulty of blood flow for a short period of time, usually occurs due to accumulation of plaque (fatty substance).

Types of Stroke: 
  • Ischemic Stroke: About 87 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes occur when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits or blood clots originating in the body and usually the heart. 
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures that results in swelling and pressure in the brain causing damage to its cells and tissues, and in most cases it can lead to death. Brain hemorrhages can result from many conditions including irregular high blood pressure (hypertension). It may also be caused by arteriovenous malformation (is a congenital disorder characterized by a complex, tangled web of arteries and veins and may occur in the brain or spine cord).

Causes:
The brain needs a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients to function normally. When a stroke occurs, the supply of oxygen to the brain stops, leading to the death of the brain cells within a few minutes. This results in a deficit of brain function that may include problems in movement, speech and thinking, as well as controlling the functions of the intestine, bladder, and other vital functions of the body. The cause of its occurrence is still unknown.

Risk Factors:
  • Old age.
  • Sex — Most common in men. 
  • Family history.
  • Previous stroke.
  • Previous transient ischemic attack.
  • Previous heart attack.
  • Irregular high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Artery diseases.
  • Atrial fibrillation.
  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • Lack of regular exercise.
  • Eating unhealthy foods.
  • Obesity.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Cigarette smoking.
  • Alcohol intake.
  • Drug use.
Symptoms:
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Trouble with speaking and understanding.
  • Trouble with seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble with walking, dizziness, and loss of balance.
  • A sudden, severe headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting,

When to See a Doctor?
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, even if they seem to disappear:
  • Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms: If he can't lift his arm up. 
  • Speech: If his speech slurred or strange or any of the symptoms mentioned above occurred. 
Complications:
  • Infection is often in the chest and urinary tract. 
  • Skin ulcers.
  • Paralysis or loss of muscle movement.
  • Difficulty talking or swallowing.
  • Memory loss or thinking difficulties.
  • Depression.

Diagnosis: 
To determine the most appropriate treatment for your stroke, your emergency team needs to evaluate the type of stroke you're having and the areas of your brain affected by the stroke. They also need to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, such as a brain tumor or a drug reaction. Your doctor may use several tests to determine your risk of stroke, including:
  • Lab Tests: Blood tests to determine cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Other Tests: CT scan, MRI, swallowing and cardiovascular tests.

Treatment:
Treatment depends on the type of stoke, including:
  • Medications: They are usually taken with one or more different medications, some of which may be taken immediately and for a short period (such as: blood thinners), while the others may need to be taken for long term. However, when diagnosed immediately, patient will be given clot-busting drug intravenously to improve blood flow to the brain part, but should be given in the first three or four hours after stroke symptoms begin, and in some other recommendations up to the first six hours.
  • Surgery: Some strokes can be treated by emergency procedure to help restore blood flow to the brain, which involves inserting a catheter into an artery, often in the groin. A small device is passed through the catheter into the affected artery in the brain. The procedure is done within the first six hours after stroke severe symptoms appear.
  • Rehabilitation: Some patients may need long-term treatment where they need physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as psychotherapy, nutrition, bladder control.

Prevention:
  • Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke is the first step to ensuring immediate medical assistance.
  • Controlling of health problems (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.).
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Quitting tobacco use.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
  • Can stroke patients be treated with moxibustion?
    • It has not been proven conclusively that stroke can be treated with moxibustion, however it may cause non healable wounds particularly for diabetics and the elderly.
  • Do strokes affect your brain only?
    • They affect the brain, heart, lungs, leg veins and other places.

Misconceptions:
  • Stroke cannot be prevented.
    • Fact: Abiding by prevention methods plays a major role in the possibility of avoiding its occurrence, Allah willing.
  • Stroke only occurs in adults over 38 years and the elderly.
    • Fact: Stroke can happen to anyone at any time. 
  • If stoke symptoms disappear, no need to see the doctor.
    • Fact: Temporary stroke-like symptoms are mostly warning signs for a real stroke and need to be taken seriously.










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Last Update 05 March 2019 11:08 AM
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