Stroke is known to be a prominent cause of long-term disability. This causes fear in many individuals not because of death but due to loss of their freedom.
The stroke impacts the blood vessels of the brain. Moreover, the effects of stroke can strengthen the outcomes of other ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Stroke lies second to dementia as a major cause for enduring institutionalized care. It has been noted that 3 Indians suffer a stroke every minute. However, the good part is that it can be prevented and even treated successfully.
As we observe the World Stroke Day on 29th October ,2021, we at Neotia Getwel Healthcare Centre aim to raise awareness and lower the risks of stroke in people across the world.
In this blog post, we shall look into various aspects of stroke and understand them in detail.
What is Stroke?
Stroke is an damage to the brain which occurs when there is a blockage in the blood supply to brain. Due to the interruption in blood supply, the brain does not get sufficient oxygen or nutrients which in turn cause the brain cells to die.
Stroke is a medical emergency. Understanding the first signs of stroke can help you act quickly and lower the risk of brain damage. . Know the FAST technique to recognize stroke. If you experience these symptoms, make sure to seek immediate medical attention:
F – Face drooping: sudden numbness or weakness of the face – ask the person to smile – is the smile uneven?
A – Arms: weakness or numbness in the arms legs & face – ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding – ask the person to repeat a simple sentence – is there any speech difficulty?
T- Time – If you find any of the above symptoms act fast and take the person immediately in a nearby hospital where acute stroke treatment facility is available.
Other symptoms of stroke –
1. Sudden trouble in vision & walking
2. Loss of balance
3. Difficulty in swallowing
4. Sudden severe headache
5. Seeing more than one reflection of an object
Instant diagnosis and timely interventions can be extremely helpful to prevent any major problem or undertake treatment.
Therefore, when handling a stroke, it’s better to be safe before than be remorseful later.
Several factors are behind the high risk of stroke. In general, people with more risk factors have a greater chance of suffering from a stroke. Also, risk factors only augment a person’s chances of having a stroke, they do not make a stroke unavoidable.
Here are some of the risk factors mentioned below:
1. Age: The risk of stroke goes up as people become older.
2. Family history: If your blood relative had a stroke, then your risk for stroke is higher than average.
3. Hypertension. Also referred to as high blood pressure, hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke. In lack of treatment, a hypertensive individual’s stroke risk can be six times that of individuals with usual or controlled blood pressure.
4. Diabetes: Having diabetes augments a person’s stroke danger considerably. It has been noted that uncontrolled blood sugar makes the interior walls of arteries stickier. This, in turn, leads to the build-up of plaques, which then increases the likelihood of subsequent blood clots. This could lead to a stroke.
5. High blood cholesterol and lipids: High cholesterol levels can narrow down the artery by building up a plaque. Plaque contents of fatty substances, cholesterol, and calcium. The plaque decreases the blood flow to the brain which eventually leads to stroke.
6. A previous case of Stroke: You are likely to have another stroke if you had a previous one. This is also true for those who have suffered from heart attacks earlier. The risk is the highest within the first month following a heart attack and then gets reduced with time.
7. Stress: In some cases stress can work to trigger medical factors like hypertension & certain vascular condition which can cause stroke.
Window period/Golden period
Every second is important in stroke. Within second billions of brain cells can get damaged and once they are damaged, they cannot be repaired fully. But remember, within 4 and half hours of stroke if you admit the patient to a proper set-up and start thrombolysis treatment, there are possible chances for less brain damage and lesser disability of the patient. This 4 and half-hour’ time period after stroke is known as Window Period.
If proper rehabilitation treatment is provided in the golden period, the probability of frequent strokes, bedsores, and infections gets reduced.
Moreover, the bulk of neurological ill-effects can be decreased if treatment begins in this golden period.
Thrombolytic therapy is the supervision of drugs called lytics or “clot busters” to dissolve blood clots that have suddenly blocked your major arteries or veins.
To be successful, the therapy needs to be commenced as soon as possible, before the enduring loss has happened.
Thrombolytic therapy is well-recognized and provides considerable benefit for patients with stroke.
This therapy takes place as follows:
1. The “clot-busting” drug is transported through a peripheral intravenous (IV) line, usually via a visible vein in your arm.
2. It is executed in an intensive care unit while your lung and heart functions are examined.
3. The drug flows in the bloodstream until it reaches the clot. This may reduce the drug’s effect because of dilution. Hence, sometimes higher doses are required.
Stroke rehabilitation aims to revise the skills you lost when you were affected by a stroke. Hence, recovering from a stroke can be an extensive process that demands persistence, hard work and commitment.
There are several approaches to post-stroke rehabilitation. They depend on the parts of your body affected by stroke.
Various physical activities are:
1. Motor-skill exercises. These exercises can assist you in improving your muscle strength and movement.
2. Mobility training. In this, you learn to use mobility aids like canes, walkers, wheelchairs or ankle braces. The ankle brace can stabilize and toughen your ankle to help support your body’s weight when you learn to walk again.
3. Constraint-induced therapy. An unaffected limb is controlled while you practice moving the affected limb to help improve its function.
4. Range-of-motion therapy: Specific exercises and treatments can help you ease muscle tension (spasticity) so that you can redeem your range of motion.
Similarly, your rehabilitation can work with speech and occupational therapies as well.
1. Speech therapy assists people who have issues generating or understanding speech.
2. Occupational therapy helps in enhancing daily activities, like drinking, eating, bathing, reading, writing, etc.
Therapy and medication can help you deal with several mental health conditions such as depression following a stroke. You can even join a patient support union to better regulate your life after a stroke.
How can you prevent a stroke successfully?
Living a healthy and productive lifestyle can lower your chances of having a stroke. To do that, follow the measures mentioned below:
1. No to smoking/tobacco: Saying no to smoking/tobacco can go a long way in reducing the risk of your stroke.
2. Maintain your weight: Obesity has been found out to be one of the leading causes of stroke. Always balance your weight at appropriate levels.
3. Always go for health check-ups: Stay in touch with your doctor and always have consistent health check-ups to recognize any potential risk.
4. Consume a healthy diet: Either limit or stop the intake of food with high salt concentration and high fatty acids. Instead, replace them with food items containing low fatty acids and high nutrients.
5. Exercise regularly: Doing so helps you to lose weight and reduce blood pressure, which in turn, also lower the risk of a stroke.
For instance, you should take a walk around your neighbourhood every morning. Or you can take the stairs instead of an elevator as much as you can.
You can either perform 30 consecutive minutes of exercise or break it up into 10 to 15 minute periods in a day.
Care from family and friends can also help you boot out fear and anxiety after a stroke. A stroke in advancement can be diagnosed in a hospital. If a stroke occurs, then your immediate care must focus on reducing brain damage.
At Neotia Getwel Healthcare Centre we are ready 24 * 7 to help you out with immediate treatment for stroke ensuring world class safety standard and infection control protocol. Our expert Neurology & Neurosurgery department facilitates thrombolysis treatment along with stroke management, surgical intervention and post stroke rehabilitation program. Do not delay your treatment. For any emergency reach us on our 24*7 emergency helpline number 0353 660 3030 or Book your appointment here.