World Stroke Day: Your quickest guide on symptoms, risk factors and treatment of strokes

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A stroke occurs when blood and oxygen to the brain are cut off, resulting in death of nerve cells in the brain, as early as within three or four minutes. This can lead to severe physical, cognitive or mental disabilities and even death.

A stroke patient may experience sudden and severe headache, numbness or weakness on one side, trouble speaking, walking, or understanding, trouble seeing, or other symptoms. Stroke is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately, even if symptoms seem to go away.

As Dr Neha Kapoor, Senior Consultant, Neurology, Asian Hospital, reminds us, “Every second counts.”

The expert shares some important facts about stroke to share the awareness required to avert cases of stroke or reduce damage if a person suffers it.

Also read: Shhhh! It’s time you know about silent stroke and how to detect it

Awareness is thne first step towards managing a stroke. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the symptoms of stroke?

The occurrence of stroke is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:

* Sudden numbness, tingling or weakness on one side of body
* Slurred speech, difficulty in swallowing, choking on food
* Light-headedness, loss of consciousness, even coma
* Incoherence, difficulty talking, difficulty in finding words
* Blurred vision, double vision, fading of colours, loss of side vision
* Drooping eyelid, Blindness, enlarged (dilated) pupils, unequal pupils
* Confusion, drooling, worst headache, weakness
* Nausea or vomiting
* Drooping of one side of face, Eyes do not track together,
* Memory problems

Treatment of stroke

Depending on the type of stroke – ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke – medication, surgery, and rehabilitation are used to treat strokes. The treatment may include:

1. IV fluids and oxygen
2. IV clot-busting medication, within three hours of the start of symptoms
3. Blood thinners
4. Blood clot removal via catheter
5. Carotid endarterectomy, opening some arteries to remove plaque
6. Angioplasty, widening an artery with a balloon and inserting a stent to keep it from narrowing
7. Medication to prevent seizures or lower blood pressure
8. Rehabilitation therapy of stroke with a team of specialists

In strokes, if Intracranial pressure increases then to save life, surgery may be done to release pressure building up in brain.

Every type of stoke needs a different treatment. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Risk factors of stroke

* Age more than 50 years
* Male sex
* Hypertension
* Diabetes
* Smoking
* Alcohol
* Family history of stroke
* Cardiac history
* Raised cholesterol levels

Impact of stroke

Impact of stroke for patient is loss of function and being dependent for his daily routine activities if stroke is major.

Small strokes recover but large strokes take time and due to which there is loss of jobs, financial burden increases, and long treatment and Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation is required.

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