Stroke

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A stroke or brain attack occurs as a result of brain damaged or not enough blood reaching the brain (resulting in not enough oxygen and nutrients reaching the brain). There are different types of stroke, but the two main types are ischemic stroke and haemorrhagic stroke.

Aging is one factor that place people at risk of have a stroke. Men are also more like to have a stroke as well as people with diabetes. Excessive drinking (alcoholic beverages), overweight, smoking and high blood cholesterol level also increase the risk of have a stroke. Irregular heartbeat also increases the risk of having a stroke. It’s important to note that stroke is a vascular disease.

Cause

Stroke is cause by brain damaged or not enough blood reaching the brain. The most common type of stroke is Ischemic stroke. It is cause by the blockage of the blood vessels supplying the brain as a result of narrowing and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) or blockage of the blood vessel by a blood clot.

Haemorrhagic stroke is the most severe type of stroke. It is cause by the bursting of a blood vessel in the brain, causing blood to leak and resulting in damage to an area of the brain.

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Reducing Risk Factors

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Control your diabetes, if you have it.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Control your blood cholesterol.
  • Visit your doctor regularly for check ups and appropriate medication.
  • Reduce alcohol intake.

Symptoms

Symptoms of stroke usually appear suddenly. But individual may complain of the following before the actual stroke; sudden headache, sudden numbness in their face or limbs(especially down one side of their body), trouble talking or understanding what is being said to them, vision problems, trouble keeping their balance. They may also complain about feeling sick and pale in appearance.

Treatment

Treatment should begin as quickly as possible, when a stroke is diagnosed in order to prevent further damage to the brain. Doctors may insert intravenous drip (fluid) and administer oxygen to the stroke victim after the diagnosis. Aspirin is commonly given to reduce the risk of death or a second stroke. Especially if it is an ischemic stroke that as occurred. If the stroke was cause by a clot, certain clotting dissolving drugs are quickly administered. This method of treatment is not suitable for all strokes, because it can cause a haemorrhagic stroke. As a result strict guidelines are put in place regarding its usage.

Anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners) maybe prescribe depending on the cause and type of stroke. This help to prevent new clots from forming, in order to prevent a future stroke. Surgery may be conducted to move the build-up of plaque in a neck artery, where blockage as taken place. This operation is called a carotid endarterectomy.

It’s important to know that once the brain is permanently damage by a stroke, the damage cannot be reverse. But symptoms can improve considerably after a stroke, especially with the use of physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Speech therapy helps to regain speech and address swallowing and feeding disorder. Physiotherapy is use to improve co-ordination, balance and muscle control. Occupational therapy on the other hand; helps to improve hand-eye co-ordination and skill needed for every day life.

There is no pinpoint cure for a stroke. A stroke is more of a life style disease, which can be prevent by living a health life style and visiting one’s doctor regularly.

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