In getting treatment for stroke TIME is of utmost importance. The longer treatment is delayed the more damage the brain sustains.
A stroke is a medical emergency and needs to be treated with urgency. It is a condition caused when the blood supply in the brain is cut off by a block or a leak in the blood vessels. Sometimes referred to as a brain attack, it can prove fatal if the person does not receive efficient emergency care within sixty minutes of the first stroke symptom.
TYPES OF STROKES
There are two main types of strokes: Ischaemic Stroke and Haemorrhagic Stroke, each affecting brain function differently.
An Ischaemic Stroke occurs when a blood clot occurs in an artery, therefore cutting off the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain. These clots occur in arteries that have gradually become narrow due to fatty deposits along their insides and this process is called atherosclerosis. This condition is a natural occurrence as a person age but can be hastened by certain other underlying diseases and habits such as:
Atrial Fibrillation which is a type of arrhythmia can cause blood clots in the head, which disintegrate and bits of it end up in the brain, leading to a blockage.
A Haemorrhagic Stroke which is less common than an Ischaemic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds in and around the brain. The prime cause for this type of stroke is high blood pressure (hypertension) which can weaken the arteries in the brain. You are at an increased risk of high BP if you:
SYMPTOMS OF STROKE
Since the onset of a stroke is sudden, it is important to be alert to symptoms. Various parts of the brain control specific parts of the body. Hence symptoms will depend on which part of the brain is affected by the block/ leak first. However, there are some common signs of a stroke that you can watch out for.
If the person has any of these symptoms, you need to call for an ambulance immediately.
IDENTIFYING A STROKE
Remember the acronym BE FAST to identify a Stroke which is a recent modification of the FAST stroke test.
Even if the symptoms seem to ease up before the ambulance arrive, it is best to take the person to the hospital and have them evaluated.
CONSULTANT – NEUROLOGIST
MBBS,MD GENERAL MEDICINE,DM NEUROLOGY