What is Brain Stroke?
Brain stroke generally referred to as a stroke, occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked. It is also called a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). When the blood supply is blocked, the brain does not get enough oxygen or nutrients, and brain cells start to die. A stroke is a medical emergency that needs immediate clinical attention.
An ischemic stroke is caused when an artery in the brain is blocked, which prevents oxygenated blood from delivering to the brain cells. The artery can be blocked in two ways. Thrombotic stroke & Embolic stroke
An artery can get narrow over some time because of the cholesterol (plaque) stacks. If that plaque ruptures, a clot is formed which prevents the blood flow to the brain cells, which are then deprived of oxygen.
An embolism is a clot, a piece of fatty material that travels with the blood flow that gets stuck in a blood vessel to cause an obstruction. The artery in the brain is blocked because of a clot that can either travel from the heart or any other blood vessel.
When a weakened blood vessel leaks, releasing the blood into surrounding brain tissue, those brain cells stop working. The bleeding or hemorrhage is often due to poorly controlled high blood pressure, which eventually weakens the wall of an artery over time.Blood may also leak from an aneurysm, a congenital weakness or ballooning of an artery wall, or from an AVM (arteriovenous malformation), a congenital abnormality in which an artery and vein connect incorrectly. This bleeding may form a hematoma that directly damages brain cells and may also cause swelling that further pressurizes surrounding brain tissue.
The different types of stroke have different causes. However, stroke is more likely to affect people if they have the following risk factors:
- Being overweight
- Being aged 55 years or older
- A personal or family history of stroke
- An inactive lifestyle
- A tendency to drink heavily, smoke, or use illicit drugs
Stroke often appears without any warning symptoms, however, based on the research the following are the main symptoms of brain stroke
- Confusion – Trouble while speaking and understanding anything
- Severe headache
- Numbness in some parts of face, arm, leg. Most particularly on one side of the body.
- Vision problems
- Altered consciousness
Time is very precious during a stroke; the more we delay in diagnosing and treating, the more will be the loss. The brain cells which die without oxygen cannot be replaced. To bring the awareness, American Stroke Association and American Heart Association recommend Think FAST in recognizing a stroke. FAST is abbreviated as
F – Face Drooping
A –Arm Weakness
S –Speech Difficulty
T –Time to call for medical emergency support (Call Ambulance 8008777555)
Once the patient reaches the hospital the following investigations may be performed to diagnose the stroke.
- Physical Examination
- Blood Tests
- CT Scan
- MRI Scan
- Carotid Ultrasound
- Cerebral Angiogram
Prevention is always better than cure. The best way to prevent it is to address the underlying causes. This will be achieved through lifestyle changes, which includes:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Regular exercises
- No smoking
- Avoiding alcohol
A nutritious diet includes fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc. Be sure to eat little processed meat and limit intake of foods that contain high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats. Reduce salt intake to maintain normal blood pressure.
Measures to reduce the risk of stroke include:
- Keeping blood pressure under control
- Managing diabetes
- Treating obstructive sleep apnea
In addition, arterial surgery can also be used to lower the risk of recurrent strokes, as well as some other surgical options are still being studied.
However, consulting a stroke specialist will provide more information on brain strokes. Call 04049404940 to book your appointment with a stroke specialist.