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Stroke : Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Stroke is a condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted or reduced due to a blockage (ischemic stroke) or rupture of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Without blood, the brain will not get oxygen and nutrients, so cells in some areas of the brain will die. This condition causes the body parts that are controlled by damaged areas of the brain to not function properly.

Stroke is a medical emergency because brain cells can die in just minutes. Quick handling measures can minimize the level of brain damage and possible complications.

Symptoms of stroke

Every part of the body is controlled by different parts of the brain, so the symptoms of a stroke depend on the part of the brain that is affected and the level of damage. Symptoms or signs of stroke vary in each person. However, generally strokes appear suddenly. There are three main symptoms of stroke that are easy to recognize, namely:

  • The face will look down on one side and unable to smile because the mouth or eyes droop.
  • Unable to lift one arm because it feels weak or numb. Not only the arms, the one side legs with the arms also experience weakness.
  • Speech is unclear, chaotic, or even unable to speak at all even though the sufferer looks conscious.

 

Some other symptoms and signs of stroke, namely:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Severe headaches that come suddenly, accompanied by stiffness in the neck and dizzy spin (vertigo).
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), resulting in choking.
  • Disorders of balance and coordination.
  • Sudden loss of vision or double vision.

Complications of stroke

Stroke can cause various other health problems or complications, and most of these complications can endanger life. Some types of complications that may arise include:

  • Deep vein thrombosis. Some people will experience blood clots in the limbs that have paralysis. This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis. This condition occurs due to cessation of limb muscle movements, so that the flow in the vein veins is disturbed. This increases the risk for blood clots. Deep vein thrombosis can be treated with anticoagulant drugs.
  • Hydrocephalus. Some hemorrhagic stroke sufferers can experience hydrocephalus, a complication that occurs due to accumulation of brain fluid in the brain cavity (ventricles). The neurosurgeon will install a hose into the brain to remove the accumulated fluid.
  • Dysphagia. Damage caused by a stroke can interfere with the swallowing reflex, resulting in risky food and drinks entering the respiratory tract. The problem with swallowing is known as dysphagia. Dysphagia can cause aspiration pneumonia.

Causes of stroke

Based on the cause, there are two types of strokes, namely:




  • Ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke occurs when arterial blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to the brain experience constriction or blockage, which causes blood flow to the brain to be greatly reduced. This condition is also called ischemia. Ischemic stroke can be divided into 2 types, thrombotic stroke and embolic stroke.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood vessels in the brain rupture and cause bleeding. Bleeding in the brain can be triggered by several conditions that affect blood vessels. These conditions include uncontrolled hypertension, weakening of blood vessel walls, and treatment with blood thinners. Hemorrhagic stroke consists of two types, namely intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Risk Factors for Stroke

There are several factors that can increase the risk of stroke. Besides stroke, the risk factors below can also increase the risk of a heart attack. These factors include:

Health factors, which include:

 

Lifestyle factors, which include:

  • Smoke.
  • Lack of exercise or physical activity.
  • Consumption of illegal drugs.
  • Alcohol addiction.

 

Other factors related to stroke risk include:

  • Heredity factor. If family members have had a stroke, the risk of stroke is also higher.
  • With increasing age, a person has a higher risk of stroke than younger people.

Stroke diagnosis

If you encounter symptoms like the one above, immediately go to the hospital to get treatment. To determine the type of treatment that is most appropriate for stroke, the doctor will evaluate the type of stroke and the area of the brain that has a stroke. As an initial step in the diagnosis, the doctor will ask the patient or family member about several things, which include:

  • Symptoms experienced, the onset of symptoms, and what the patient is doing when the symptoms appear.
  • Types of medicines being consumed.
  • Has the patient been injured in the head.
  • Check the patient's and patient's health history regarding heart disease, mild stroke (TIA), and stroke.

 

Then, the doctor will conduct a physical examination of the patient as a whole, which usually begins with checking blood pressure, heart rate, and abnormal noise in the neck arteries using a stethoscope. Furthermore, the doctor will conduct further examinations, including blood tests, CT scans, MRI, electrocardiography, carotid doppler ultrasound, and echocardiography.

Stroke treatment

Special treatment of stroke patients is performed by a neurologist, depending on the type of stroke experienced by the patient. Are strokes caused by blood clots that block blood flow to the brain (ischemic stroke), or caused by bleeding in or around the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

Treatment of ischemic stroke

Early treatment will focus on maintaining the airway, controlling blood pressure, and restoring blood flow. The treatment can be done by injecting rtPA (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator), antiplatelet drugs, blood thinning drugs (anticoagulants), antihypertensive drugs, statin drugs, and carrying out carotid endarterectomy and angioplasty surgery.

Treatment of hemorrhagic strokes

In cases of hemorrhagic strokes, initial treatment aims to reduce pressure on the brain and control bleeding. There are several forms of treatment for hemorrhagic strokes, including taking drugs and surgery.

Treatment of TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack)

TIA treatment aims to control risk factors that can trigger a stroke, so it can prevent strokes. The doctor will give drugs that include antiplatelet drugs or anticoagulant drugs, cholesterol drugs, and antihypertensive drugs, depending on the risk factors that the patient has. In some cases, a surgical procedure for carotid endarterectomy is needed if there is a buildup of fat in the carotid artery.

Stroke prevention

The main step to prevent stroke is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. In addition, recognize and avoid the risk factors that exist, and follow the doctor's recommendations. Some ways that can be done to prevent strokes include:

Keep the diet

Eating too much salty and fatty food can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of causing hypertension which can trigger a stroke. Avoid excessive salt consumption. Good consumption of salt is as much as 6 grams or one teaspoon per day. The recommended foods are foods that are rich in unsaturated fats, protein, vitamins, and fiber. All of these nutrients can be obtained from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat meat such as skinless chicken breast.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise can make the heart and circulatory system work more efficiently. Exercise can also reduce cholesterol levels and maintain body weight and blood pressure at a healthy level.

Quit smoking

The risk of stroke is doubled if someone smokes, because cigarettes can narrow blood vessels and make blood easy to clot. Not smoking means reducing the risk of various other health problems, such as lung and heart disease.

Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages

Liquor contains high calories. If alcoholic beverages are consumed excessively, then a person is susceptible to various diseases that trigger stroke, such as diabetes and hypertension. Consumption of excessive alcoholic beverages can also make your heart rate become irregular.

Avoid using drugs

Some types of drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, can cause narrowing of the arteries and reduce blood flow.



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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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