Learn all about stroke, symptoms of stroke and stroke prevention
What is a stroke?
Imagine a busy expressway where the traffic is smooth and all the cars are carrying people, messages, resources and other essentials into a teeming city. If one car were to crash suddenly, causing a massive pileup, this would not only slow down traffic, but disrupt the flow of cars going into and out of the city.
In a stroke, the rupture of a blood vessel or capillary in the brain has the same effect. This clot or bleed in the brain decreases the supply of blood to the brain cells and damages them and affecting a part of the body. Because the brain stem controls all the body's functions such as movement, breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, vision, hearing, speech and swallowing, damage in any one of these 'control centres' means that part of the body is affected. Damage to the 'left-arm control centre' of the brain means the right arm will be affected and any damage to the 'right-eye control centre' of the brain means the vision in the left eye may be lost.
The severity of impairment depends on the severity of the stroke - the length of time the part of the brain is deprived of oxygen.
There are two kinds of stroke:
What are the warning signs of a stroke?
These are some common signs that a stroke has occurred:
What are the risk factors for a stroke?
A stroke is linked to a number of chronic diseases. These conditions increase the risk of getting a stroke:
What are the treatments for a stroke?
Medical science has advanced to vastly improve the survival and recovery rate for those who suffer a stroke. Speedy medical attention, medication and physical therapy means a good many people can enjoy a good quality of life post-stroke.
One of the best indicators of recovery and survival is the speed in which medical attention is sought. This is the 'golden hour' in which doctors can minimise the damage and protect the brain. A regime of anti-coagulants or blood thinners are commonly given to help dissolve blood clots and prevent future strokes, while other drugs are used to stabilise blood pressure and blood flow.
A physiotherapy regime is often helpful in helping a person to regain strength and mobility of the affected limb or to overcome any physical limitations caused by the stroke.