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Stroke - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Last Updated: Nov 01, 2021

What happens in Stroke?

Stroke, commonly referred to as brain attack, is a critical condition that is characterized by the cut down of oxygen supply to a particular area of the brain as a result of a blockage in blood vessels due to the formation of the clot. This leads to the malfunctioning of that brain segment and hence it is an emergency condition. If it is not treated immediately it can be proved to be fatal.

What are the 3 types of strokes?

There are mainly three types of stroke:

  • Ischemic stroke
  • Hemorrhagic stroke and
  • TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack)

Ischemic Stroke:

This is the most common form of stroke, which account for more than 85% of strokes all across the globe. This type of stroke is a result of blocked or narrowed arteries, which sends blood to the brain. Arterial stenosis (narrowing) subsequently results in severe, reduction in blood flow to the brain.The block in arteries often happens because of blood clots. These clots can either get formed inside the main arteries that connect to the brain, or even in the narrowing arteries that are within the brain. These clots are mostly formed by fatty deposits within the arteries, which are medically known as plaque.

Hemorrhagic stroke:

This kind of stroke happens mainly due to leaking or bursting arteries that spilled blood inside the brain. The leaked blood from the arteries puts pressure inside the brain and damages the cerebral tissues. Blood vessels during a hemorrhagic stroke can burst in the middle of the brain or near the surface of the brain cells, leaking blood into the cellular space between the brain and the skull.

Hemorrhagic stroke can happen because of conditions such as trauma, hypertension, weakening in the vessel walls (aneurysm) or because of blood thinning medications like heparin and others.Intracerebral hemorrhage is the most prevalent type of hemorrhagic stroke. Subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is less common is the next type that happens during a stroke. In this case bleeding happens in the area the area between the brain and the thin tissue that separates it from the cranial bones, medically referred as the subarachnoid space.

TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack):

TAIs are a little different from the other two forms of strokes. In this case the blood flow to the brain gets interrupted for a very brief period of time as it happens in ischemic strokes. TAIs are often caused by small blood clots in the arteries.

However, nevertheless TAIs are also considered as medical emergencies, since they can be real warnings for future strokes. It has been found left untreated TAI patients have major strokes within a period of one year after getting affected with TAI. Since it’s an absolute medical emergency, call a doctor immediately, if found that you or anyone near you has been identified with symptoms of stroke.

Can stress cause a Stroke?

Stress is the mental state of a person which can be harmful to his health in some cases while it may be helpful too sometimes, stimulating the brain out of fear to perform any task. It is responsible for an abnormal increase in the levels of fats or cholesterol in the blood. This can lead to more chances of clot formation that may reach the brain, resulting in the damage of brain cells i.e Stroke.

Can you have a Stroke in your sleep?

Out of all the cases of Stroke, a few are such that occur in the state of sleep. In fact, 14 percent of Stroke cases are estimated to happen during sleep. A person in such a condition wakes up with the symptoms of Stroke and is at a higher risk of fatality. It is more difficult for a person to recover in such cases of Stroke as the treatment does not show early effects despite all the efforts.

What are the early symptoms of stroke?

There are some warning signs that are indicating strokes such as the feeling of numbness over the facial region, legs and hands, problems in understanding people, speaking or confusion, dizziness, keeping balance, etc. Fast is a term that is used for indication signs of stroke-like F= face (droop or an uneven smile on face), A= arms (numbness or weakness), S= speech difficulty (Slurred speech), and T= time (act fast). Other signs include memory loss, confusion, loss of sensation on part of the body, blurred vision, involuntary eye movements, temporary loss of consciousness, etc, that works as indicators of stroke.


What are the effects of stroke?

Stroke is mainly occurring and affecting the brain of a person. Starting from the nervous system, damage to the brain can cause some pain while performing regular activities as well as there are chances of perception and vision change. After a stroke, the patient may feel difficulty in eating and swallowing food if the part of the brain is damaged.

In the circulatory system, there are more chances of the formation of blood clots due to high levels of cholesterols, blood pressures that result in blocked blood flow to different parts of the body. Constipation, weakened muscles, involuntary bowel and bladder problems are also included in the effects of stroke.

What happens to the brain during a stroke?

Human brain is divided into three parts- cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem. There are different effects created by stroke on different parts of the brain as it is affecting that specific part. Cerebrum is a part of the brain that has control over movement and sensations, speech, thinking, reasoning, memory, vision, and emotions and if a stroke occurs in the cerebrum, functions like vision, cognitive, self-care ability, emotional control, sexual ability, etc, are affected.

If stroke happened in the right hemisphere of cerebrum, it causes paralysis of the left body region along with the inability of the patient to localize body parts, to understand maps and subjects, etc. On the other side, the right side body gets paralyzed and sensory impairments when there is a stroke in the left hemisphere of cerebrum.

What is the treatment for stroke?

Depending on the type of stroke, doctors conduct the treatment of their patients. Patients with Ischemic stroke should be given a clot-busting intravenous injection of tissue plasminogen activator. Other emergency endovascular procedures include medications delivered directly to the brain, removing the clot with a stent retriever, carotid endarterectomy, etc.

In the case of hemorrhagic strokes, warfarin and other anti-platelet drugs like Clopidogrel are injected to prevent the blood clots and surgical clipping, coiling, surgical AVM removal, and stereotactic radiosurgery may be performed to repair the blood vessel.

Can brain repair itself after Stroke?

Stroke is a critical as a well emergency state of the brain that involves brain malfunctioning. The damaged segment of the brain can undergo repair by the process of neurogenesis, in which new brain cells are regenerated. The recovery process is faster in the first three to four months from the time the Stroke had taken place.

What are complications from stroke?

Stroke is a condition where the brain of the human body is affected and even after or during recovery of such conditions, people may experience different complications. There are high chances of swelling of the brain after a stroke (brain edema), problems of respiratory system (pneumonia), swallowing problems, infection of urinary tract or difficulty in controlling bladder, abnormal occurrence of seizures or convulsions, emotional and physical illness depression, immobility caused bedsores, reduced range of motion of limbs due to shortened muscles, and blood clots or deep venous thrombosis.

How long does a Stroke take to kill?

Stroke is an emergency condition that arises when blood flow stops reaching the brain cells resulting in their damage. Every second is important in such conditions as the main controlling center of the body i.e brain stops functioning and it takes seconds for it to go into such a state. Brain cells, 32000 in number, die in just one second, followed by the death of 1.9 million cells in the next 59 seconds. Hence, in most cases of Stroke, one minute of time is enough to make a person slip into a state of coma.

What are the long term effects of a stroke?

The long term effects of a stroke depend on which part of the brain is damaged due to stroke. It has been observed that people who had stroke may have different physical changes, emotional and personality changes, communication and changes in perception, thinking, and memory. If there is a paralysis on one side of body limbs, the patient can recover but the impact will still remain.

There may be problems during the speech as people will be unable to pronounce the word in the same manner they were able to. Memory loss may be seen like forgetfulness of events occurred five minutes before in patient with stoke. Social appropriateness, persistent sadness, anxiousness, the feeling of guilt or hopelessness may occur in patient of stroke.

What are the preventive measures of stroke?

There are some preventative measures of stroke so that people can handle a situation of their loved ones when stroke occurs. First of all, people should be educated about the term FAST, as it is directly connected to warning signs of stroke. To avoid stroke, people should eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, and be active physically.

People who are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure like conditions should go for regular medical check-ups to know their condition and any type of modification in lifestyle and diet if needed. Stress should be reduced as it can also contribute to stroke and it can be prevented through attempting relaxation techniques, biofeedback, yoga-like exercises, and counseling.

How can I prevent a Stroke?

Stroke can be prevented in a person by following some changes in lifestyle such as maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, doing physical activities such as exercises on a regular basis, and quitting habits like smoking and drinking alcohol. These lead to a reduction in the risks of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and formation of clots in the arteries which are the reasons for the occurrence of Stroke.

How to prevent a stroke naturally?

To prevent the occurrence of stroke, people should consume more vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Foods like meats and poultry should be replaced with seafood. There should be reduced or limited intake of salts, fats, sugars, and refined grains. Obesity is also an underlying cause of stroke and to fight it, people should become active and do exercises daily to maintain a healthy weight.

People should stop their bad habits of consuming alcohol and cigarette smoking to avoid the occurrence of stroke. Patients, who are already on prescription medications of high blood pressure like disease, should follow and take it as per the direction of their medical practitioners.

What are the home remedies for stroke?

The list of risk factors for stroke should be prepared as it can help in controlling its effects. It is advised to consume such foods which are helping in lowering the blood cholesterol levels. Black or green tea is more suitable as it contains full of plant nutrients that help in decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol.

Pomegranate-like fruits is advised as it is full of antioxidants and Phytosterols. Low impact exercises like yoga and Chinese exercise- Tai Chi are considered as good options for maintaining balance and promoting body movements. Aromatherapy, massages, positive self-talk, meditation are other options for stroke.

Summary: Stroke, commonly referred to as brain attack, is a critical condition that is characterized by the cut down of oxygen supply to a particular area of the brain as a result of a blockage in blood vessels due to the formation of the clot. It can be prevented in a person by following some changes in lifestyle such as maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, doing physical activities such as exercises on a regular basis, and quitting habits like smoking and drinking alcohol.

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Written ByDr. Arun Sharma MBBS,MS - General Surgery,MCh - Neuro SurgeryNeurology
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