STROKE

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

What is a stroke? What are its clinical treatments and home remedies?

What is a stroke? What are its clinical treatments and home remedies? A stroke is a state in which blood perfusion to a part of your brain is disrupted or decreased, preventing brain tissue from obtaining enough oxygen and nutrients. Stroke is an emergency state, and the patient urgently needs treatment. It is because the sooner a patient starts getting treatment, the less damage is likely to occur.

Moreover, stroke is one of the leading causes of permanent disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke affects men and women equally.

In this article, you’ll know more about stroke, its clinical treatments, and home remedies.

What is a stroke?

A stroke or a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) is the condition of compromised brain perfusion due to complete or partially blocked vasculature.1Without the oxygen and nutrients, our brain cells die within minutes. Thus, stroke is always a medical emergency and the patient quickly needs medical care.  As brain cells when damaged, cannot regenerate themselves, so stroke causes long-term and even permanent disabilities in the patients.

Types of Stroke

Stroke is generally classified into two broad d categories:

  • Ischemic Stroke: Ischemic stroke occurs due to the blockage of the blood vessels causing ischemia or decreased oxygen supply within the brain. The blood vessels may become blocked due to several factors and the most important of these is atherosclerosis.
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke: Hemorrhagic stroke occurs due to the rupture of blood vessels leading to blood extravasation within the brain.

Etiologies of Stroke

Both ischemic, as well as hemorrhagic stroke, are caused by different causes which are enlisted below:

  • Causes of Ischemic Stroke:
  • Fatty plaque: Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty plaques occur within the blood vessels. When these plaques harden, they occlude the blood vessels causing blood supply interruption.
  • Thrombus: A thrombus is a blood clot occurring pathologically within the blood vessel and decreasing blood supply distal to it.
  • Embolus: Dislodged thrombus ay travel to the brain vessels where it can occlude brain vessels.
  • Causes of Hemorrhagic Stroke:
  • Aneurysm: There are certain pathological states in which the blood vessel wall weakens, and ballooning occurs at the weakened site. This is called an aneurysm, which can potentially rupture.
  • Arteriovenous malformations: Abnormally formed blood vessels can also rupture leading to hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Hypertension: Whenever the person is suffering from severe hypertension, high levels of blood pressure can tear apart the blood vessels.2

Symptoms of Stroke

Different types of strokes occurring from different causes have different sorts of symptoms. Generally, stroke symptoms may include:

  • Abnormal gait
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Slurry speech
  • Muscle weakness
  • Unable to recognize different persons
  • Numbness of any part of the body
  • Paralysis of any of the limb

One can identify stroke by using FAST method recommended by the National Stroke Association:

  • Face: Does one side of your face droops when smiling?
  • Arms: Are you having difficulty in raising one or both of your arms?
  • Speech: Is your speech slurry?
  • Time: If you are having one of the above symptoms, dial emergency number immediately.3

Clinical Treatments of Stroke

As stroke is a medical emergency, its treatment depends upon the time of arrival of the patient to the hospital after the stroke attack. Although nothing could be done for the already damaged brain, yet prevention of future strokes could be done by one of the following measures:

  • Antihypertensive drugs: These drugs lower the blood pressure and thus decrease the likelihood of hemorrhagic stroke. 
  • Anticoagulants: Anticoagulants help to prevent blood clot formation.
  • Antiplatelet medications: Platelets are fragments of cells in your blood that help in blood clotting. Antiplatelet medications inhibit platelet function.
  • Tissue plasminogen activator: Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is a drug that has the ability to dissolve the clot.
  • Surgical clipping of ruptured vessel: Ruptured vessel in a hemorrhagic stroke can be surgically clipped in order to stop further blood spillage into the brain.4

Home Remedies for Prevention of Stroke

These home remedies and preventive measures can save you from fatal strokes:

  • Quit smoking: Cigarette smoking causes vascular problems and thus increase the risk of stroke. Cessation of smoking is the first thing you should do if you are a smoker.
  • Healthy diet maintenance: A healthy diet of fruits and vegetables provide you the necessary nutrients essential for your body health and blood pressure maintenance.
  • Weight loss: Obese persons must try to do regular exercise and lose their weight so that their cholesterol levels could be maintained. Normal cholesterol levels are essential to prevent fat deposition within blood vessels.5

Take Away Message

If you’re suspecting stroke symptoms in you, rush towards the nearest hospital. Your doctor can save you from serious damage. Moreover, prevention is always necessary so that you may not get a victim of a stroke. Exercise daily, go for regular check-ups and stay healthy.

References

1.        Caplan, L. R. & Simon, R. P. Cerebrovascular Disease - Stroke. in Neurobiology of Brain Disorders: Biological Basis of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders 339–355 (Elsevier Inc., 2015). doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-398270-4.00022-7.

2.        Stroke - NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke/.

3.        Stroke symptoms — Stroke Foundation - Australia. https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Stroke-symptoms.

4.        Prasad, K. et al. Stroke management. Ann. Indian Acad. Neurol. 14, S82–S96 (2011).

5.        Preventing Stroke: Healthy Living Habits | cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/healthy_living.htm.

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