All About Strokes!
Hello reader. I have prepared this script for you to make this topic of strokes more understandable for average people outside the medical profession. I hope that you will find the following information to be useful. First, we have several definitions:
A STROKE(cerebrovascular accident (CVA)) is a loss of brain function(s), caused by a disturbance in the blood flow to the brain. This can be due to lack of blood supply(ischemia) caused by blockage for example arterial embolism or thrombosis, clot or an outflow of blood into brain tissue(hemorrhage). As a result of a stroke, the affected area of the brain is unable to function in the proper way, which might be manifest as:
- the inability to move the limbs on the opposite side of the body from what was damaged by the stroke. For example, a person my lose control of his right arm and leg if he suffered a stroke to the left side of his brain.
- the impairment of language ability., receptive or expressive aphasia, which means that a patient is unable to understand or formulate speech.
- inability to see right or left side of the visual field
- lack of coordination of muscle movements when cerebellum is affected
- impairment of cranial nerves functions
The traditional definition of stroke by the World Health Organization is a “neurological deficit of cerebrovascular cause that persists beyond 24 hours or is interrupted by death within 24 hours”. This definition was supposed to reflect the reversibility of tissue damage and was devised for the purpose, with the time frame of 24 hours being chosen arbitrarily. The 24-hour limit divides stroke from TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack)which is a related syndrome of stroke symptoms that resolve completely within 24 hours. TIA is episode of neurologic dysfunction that could be considered as warning for an approaching stroke. Even if symptoms withdraw immediately, the patient should be carefully diagnosed and hospitalized. I have seen many situations when patients after 30 minutes episode of TIA (for example weakness on one side of the body, numbness or tingling) demand leaving hospital and the next day comes back with fully symptomatic, accomplished stroke. Stroke and TIA are both medical emergencies.
More than 80 % strokes are caused by ischemia, but there are hemorrhagic strokes, which are caused by the rupture of blood vessel(s).
Sometimes the ischemic stroke can convert into the hemorrhagic type.
Below you can see CT scans showing how it looks:
CT scan-ischemic stroke on the right side of the picture
CT scan- hemorrhagic stroke, you can see blood on the right side of the
What causes stroke?
- HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
- HIGH BLOOD CHOLESTEROL LEVEL
- HIGH BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL
- NO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
All of the causes mentioned above destroy your arteries and veins. Not only the brain, but your whole body is endangered – blood vessels are almost everywhere in your body! Brain, heart, kidneys, liver even reproductive organs. (When smoking male patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia complain about erection problems, it means that stroke or heart attack is very close!)
The bad news is… they are very common in countries of the Western World, all too-common. The good news is: IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOU!! Smoking? Yes, I know, it looks like it is impossible to quit. “How will I survive the next day without a cigarette?” It is possible. Hundreds of thousands former heavy smokers are the living proofs. There are many blogs, websites that will help you to defeat the addiction and improve the quality and duration of your life.
Support of family and close friends is very important.
High blood pressure can be treated successfully.
High blood cholesterol level? Also can be treated with lipid-lowering drugs like statins or others.
High blood sugar level? Can be treated by diet, drugs or insulin injections. Consult with your doctor.
Activity? Try to walk small distances, use stairs instead of the elevator, or ride your bike. There are loads of possibilities. But carefully at the beginning! People in their forties and older should be examined by a doctor before they start their adventure with physical activity. Avoid heavy alcohol consumption and drugs.
Are there any other causes of a stroke? Yes, but the rest is unfortunately not as easy to modify: older age, sex(male), race( African-Americans, Latino-Americans),
low economic status, genetic mutations which can cause hematologic, immunologic or cardiac disorders responsible for strokes at young age.
Heart diseases like atrial fibrillation, valve diseases or heart septal defects can be treated by surgery or anticoagulation drugs.