What is Stroke?
Stroke is a medical emergency condition that is cause either by obstruction of the artery supplying the brain or due to rupture of the artery carrying blood to the brain. It is a very common problem that is regarded as number fourth killer in United States. It is equally common in the rest of the world.
Types of Stroke
There are two types of stroke on the basis of underlying pathology.
It occurs due to a decrease in blood flow to the brain by one of the following mechanisms.
- Narrowing of the arteries supplying the brain as a result of long-term deposition of lipids in the vessel walls, a condition termed as atherosclerosis.
- Blockage of the vessels supplying brain by a clot that has reached these vessels from somewhere else in the circulation.
It occurs to the rupture of an artery in the brain. The blood leaks out into the brain tissue as well as the part of the brain past the site of rupture is going to be deprived of the blood flow and thus oxygen. Bothe these mechanisms are going to produce brain damage.
Symptoms of Stroke
The symptoms of the stroke depend on which area of the brain has suffered damage. In general, Stroke can present in the form of sudden onset weakness of face, upper or lower limb. Usually these symptoms involve only one side of the body; however there could be involvement of both the side as well. The patient may be unable to walk, smile, talk or see.
Risk Factors for Stroke
The factors that increases the risk of stroke are summarized below
- High Blood Cholesterol Levels
- High Blood Pressure
- Sedentary life style
- Indulgence in heavy drinking
- Cocaine addiction
- Use of oral contraceptive pills
- Elderly age
- Female sex
Treatment of Stroke
The treatment of stroke depends on the kind of stroke you had; whether it was a hemorrhagic or an ischemic stroke.
The main options available for the treatment of ischemic stroke are as under
They can restore blood supply to the brain by breaking the clot that is blocking the artery supplying brain. It is always great to start them as soon as possible and the maximum window of time that you can use these medications in stroke patients is only four hours. Once it has been more than 4 hours since the start of the stroke events, use of these medications may cause lethal side effects without causing even a single positive effect.
Once you get a stroke you are put on aspirin right away. This therapy is not meant to relieve the symptoms of stroke rather it is aimed to prevent the occurrence of second stroke.
Clopidogrel is also aimed to prevent the recurrence of stroke and it does so without producing the unwanted side effects caused by long-term use of aspirin.
The important steps for the management of Hemorrhagic stroke are summarized below.
- Stopping use of drugs such as aspiring and Warfarin
- Use of fluid, blood or blood products to cope up with the blood loss
- Lower the pressure inside brain by using drugs such as Mannitol
- Surgery to repair the damaged vessels