A stroke is synonymously used to describe a blood clot in the brain. Another term that is often used to describe a stroke is a brain attack. A stroke occurs when blood is unable to flow to a part of the brain or a reduced amount of blood flows to the brain. When this happens, the tissues in the brain are unable to get the required nutrients and oxygen. If this goes on for too long, then the cells in the brain begin to die. A stroke brain clot is considered a medical emergency which is why promptly treating the problem should be the priority. The earlier the action is taken, the higher the chances of recovery.
There are certain warning signs and symptoms of stroke that you should know. If you or someone you know has any of the following symptoms, then you should seek medical attention immediately.
About 90% of strokes are ischemic strokes. This stroke is caused by a brain blood clot. In this, a clot in the brain stops the blood flow that travels to the neck or the brain. The clot in the brain is formed inside the blood vessel, and there can be more than one clot. It is not necessary that the blood clot in the brain is the only reason a stroke occurs. If clots form in the upper chest or the heart, and the clot somehow blocks the blood that is flowing to the brain then you can still get a stroke; it is known as cerebral embolism. There are chances that the clot can dissolve by itself and if this happens, it is called transient ischemic attack or TIA.
Hemorrhagic stroke is another major stroke. This type of stroke is associated with bleeding that takes place in the brain and is usually the deadlier stroke variant. Usually, a hemorrhagic stroke occurs after an aneurysm. In this, part of the artery that is weak becomes bigger, which eventually leads to it bursting. Another scenario that can cause a hemorrhagic stroke is when the artery wall breaks because of fatty plaque. This happens over time and then can lead to hemorrhagic stroke. Blood thinners can cause brain hemorrhage; also, hypertension is another significant cause of brain hemorrhage.
There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes- subarachnoid hemorrhage and intracerebral hemorrhage. In subarachnoid hemorrhage, one of the main causes is an aneurysm burst. In this, the blood vessels start to narrow and widen, which can cause brain cell damage. This limits blood flow to the brain, which can cause further damage. Another cause is when an artery that is found near the brain’s surface bursts. This causes the blood to spill between the skull and the brain which can lead to severe headaches; The intense headaches indicate that bleeding has occurred.
Intracerebral hemorrhage can be caused by certain medications. These medicines include those taken for blood thinning, high blood pressure, or vascular malformations. There are some other conditions that can cause intracerebral hemorrhage. In this type of stroke, a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. When this happens, the blood is spilled where it reaches the brain tissue and it can harm the brain cells. The brain cells that are not affected by this are affected by the lack of blood supply. This results in damage to blood cells, until they eventually begin to die.
The following are some of the factors that make you vulnerable to a stroke.
Firstly, your doctor will perform a physical exam. Then your blood pressure will be checked and the doctor will observe your heartbeat. The doctor will want to ensure that stroke symptoms are not caused by other conditions such as a heart problem, migraines, or low blood sugar. They will ask you about what you are experiencing and how you feel at the moment.They will ask you about whether you have speech or vision trouble, trouble paying attention, or numbness in any part of your body. He will check your balance and coordination and if you are having any trouble with that.
Once this is complete, he will perform two types of tests; blood tests and imaging tests. These are used to determine the type of stroke that you have. In a blood test, there are two particular factors that are going to be checked- clotting time and complete blood count. In blood count test, the number of platelets and electrolyte levels are going to be checked. For computing blood clotting time, prothrombin time test or PT and partial thromboplastin time or PTT are two tests that are used. Your doctor will check the blood clot rates, and if there is a problem then it will be shown in the form of delay in blood clotting.
There are various imaging tests that can be done, for instance, a carotid ultrasound will help find the fatty plaque that is causing problems by blocking arteries which carry blood to the brain. Angiograms help determine whether there is any type of blockage in your blood vessels. These tests are done on your neck and head. CT is another test that helps determine if bleeding in your brain has occurred. CT can help determine if your brain cells have been damaged. An echocardiogram is another test that helps determine whether there are clots present in your heart or not. MRI helps create a detailed brain picture so that any injuries to the brain can be detected.
Having a stroke is an emergency situation. If you experience it, then you should contact emergency services immediately, without any delay. If you receive quick treatment, then the chances of your recovery are higher and you are more likely to survive. There are different emergency treatments, and they depend on the type of stroke.
Even a small blood clot in the brain can result in ischemic stroke. When you have an ischemic stroke, the doctor will try to dissolve the clot. Usually, aspirin is given to ensure that there is no further formation of clots. Otherwise, clot-busting drugs such as thrombolytics will be provided, in the case of ischemic stroke. Other types of emergency treatment can be mechanical thrombectomy. This is the use of catheters to remove the clot from the affected artery. This medical procedure can take place a day after stroke symptoms appear. Sometimes, surgery may be necessary to ensure the pressure in the brain is reduced.
If the doctor has found that it is hemorrhagic stroke then certain medications will be given. These help reduce the bleeding to occur and they help to decrease blood pressure as well. If you take blood-thinning medications then your doctors will prescribe medications to stop their effect because blood thinners make bleeding worse. Surgery might be required in some cases but this depends on how severe the blood loss is. In the surgery, excess blood is removed so that your brain is not under pressure. The surgery will help repair the blood vessel that has been damaged during the stroke.
There are many ways in which you can prevent a stroke. The following are some of the strategies that you can adopt.
You can speak to your doctor about what changes you need to make to prevent a stroke from occurring.
In addition to the treatment options discussed above, in the emergency treatment section, there are other treatment options that are available. For instance, in the case of ischemic stroke, your doctor might recommend procedures to prevent a stroke from recurring. Carotid endarterectomy is one of the recommended medical procedures. In this process, plaque is removed from carotid arteries through an incision and then completed with stitching. This procedure is risky for people who have certain medical conditions or who are suffering from heart problems. Another option is using angioplasty and stents.
In hemorrhagic stroke, there are additional treatment options that are available if AVM or any type of vascular malformation has caused the stroke. Endovascular embolization is an option that helps the blood to clot. Another option is stereotactic radiosurgery which helps to treat vascular malformations. Surgical clipping might be recommended by your doctor.This procedure prevents an aneurysm from bursting; It can also help prevent further bleeding. Another medical procedure that is an option, is surgical AVM removal. This is only possible if the AVM is small and it can be easily accessed in your brain.
How you recover depends on how the stroke impacted you. The area of impact and the severity of the damage will help determine how you can recover. If brain tissue on the right side of your brain is affected during the stroke, then your senses and movement of the left side of your body are affected. If brain tissue on the left side of your brain is affected, then the impact can be seen on the right side of your body. You can experience movement-related problems, speech problems, and language difficulty. The road to recovery from a stroke can be a tough one. Different people react differently to a stroke.
Some people are able to get back to their usual activities within a few days after a stroke. For other people, it can take many months to get back to normal. For some people, it can even take some years to get back to their normal self and be able to do what they could comfortably do. Recovery is an ongoing process and being positive throughout the whole process is the way to go when it comes to stroke. Knowing about what you can do to prevent stroke in the future is something you should speak to your doctor about too. You should openly speak to your doctor about any doubts and questions regarding aftercare.
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