When blood supply to the brain is interrupted, a person suffers a stroke. The brain cells do not receive the oxygen and glucose needed to survive and so they die. A stroke can be fatal and life-threatening. The brain can be permanently damaged. Many surveys reveal that 50% of people who suffer a stroke do not live for more than a year. A stroke usually happens to people aged 65 years or above.
How does a stroke occur?
There are two types of stroke caused by two different reasons-
1. Ischemic stroke: Clots are formed in the brain’s blood vessels or in the vessels in any part of the body which travel to the brain. These clots obstruct the flow of blood to the brain. The chief reason for the development of clots is deposition of fatty acids and cholesterol.
2. Hemorrhagic stroke: This kind of stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. The blood from the ruptured vein flows into the brain and damages the brain cells. The chief cause of hemorrhagic strokes is high blood pressure and aneurysm (thinning of the walls of the vein)
What are the symptoms of stroke:
The following are the usual symptoms that can tell you if are about to or just have suffered a stroke-
• The arms or legs on either side or the face feels numb
• Loss of vision in one or both eyes
• Difficulty of speech
• Sudden and splitting headache
• Disorientation and feeling unbalanced while walking
• Altered consciousness
Risk of strokes:
High blood pressure is the most common cause of strokes. If your blood pressure exceeds 140/90 you are at a risk of suffering a stroke. Diabetes or people with a family history of strokes have higher chances of suffering a stroke. More men suffer a stroke than women. Certain lifestyle choices like excessive smoking or alcohol consumption can actually increase the risk of strokes.
Ayurveda and the treatment of stroke
In the ayurvedic parlance, stroke is called paksha pakshaghata. The cause is Vata dosha (Vata is responsible for the sensory and motor activities of the body)
Ayurveda treats strokes by easing or relieving the symptoms or effects of a stroke. The most popular course of treatment consists of a combination of Basti, Nasya and Shirodhara-
• In Basti, a person goes through an enema to cleanse the body of internal toxins
• Nasya aims to clear the sinuses, nose and head.
• For a Shirodhara treatment, a person has to lie on her/his back and liquids mixed with medicins are poured down her/his forehead which the bloodstream absorbs through the skin.
• Dhanadanayanadi Kashayam, Dhanwantara Kashayam, Ashtavarga Kashayam, Bala Arista treatment restore the motor and sensory functions of the brain.
• Balaswagandhadi taila,Ksheerabala taila, Dhanvantara taila help rejuvenate the damaged brain cells.
• Some other forms of treatment include Ashwagandharishtaa, Brahmi Vati and Ashwagandhachurna.
• An effective home remedy is boiling 3-4 garlic cloves in 100ml of milk. Keep boiling till the mixture is reduced to half its original volume. This concoction should be taken right before going to bed. It helps to keep blood pressure and cholesterol under check.
After the treatment is completed, a person can expect relief from the symptoms of stroke.
Ayurveda can treat the effects of stroke efficiently with a combination of physical therapies and medication.