What is a Stroke or Brain Attack?
A stroke in the brain is damage to the brain from the interrupted blood supply. Poor blood flow to the brain results in the death of brain cells, and malfunctioning of the brain. This is also called a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). A stroke is a serious emergency that can lead to permanent neurological damage and even death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says 15 million people worldwide are stroke victims each year. Among these, 5 million die and 5 million are permanently disabled.
WHO terms cerebrovascular accidents (stroke) as “the second leading cause of death and the third leading cause of disability in the world”.
High blood pressure is a leading cause, responsible for more than 12.7 million strokes worldwide. India reports about one million cases of brain stroke each year.
Risk factors for stroke:
- High Blood Pressure
- Tobacco Smoking
- High Cholesterol
- Old Age
Types of stroke:
- Ischemic stroke – occurs due to blockage in an artery of the brain. Purified blood is brought to the brain through arteries and blockage causes malfunctioning of the brain.
- Hemorrhagic stroke – caused by bursting of a faulty blood vessel inside or outside the brain; it results in blood leaking inside the brain or in the area outside it.
Common symptoms of brain stroke:
- Severe headache, with vomiting
- Coma, before bleeding in the brain is noticed
- Sudden unexplained weakness in the arm or leg, the face and most often only on one side of the body
- Sudden difficulty in speaking or understanding speech, a sense of confusion
- A sudden problem in vision, in one or both eyes
- A sudden problem in walking, difficulty in co-ordination, loss of balance, feeling dizzy
- Take the patient immediately to a ‘stroke emergency ready hospital‘ having 24×7 diagnostic and laboratory services. Here, a dedicated team of trained neurophysicians, neurosurgeons and intervention specialists can perform IV t-PA, Endovascular thrombectomy, etc.
- In acute ischemic stroke, Intravenous t-PA can be given within 4.5 hours from the symptom onset and endovascular treatment can be performed within 6 hours of onset after ruling out some contraindications.
About 30,000 brain cells die every second in a brain stroke; every single step must be taken for quick diagnosis, timely intervention for a speedy recovery.