What is a Stroke?

A stroke is a medical condition that arises when the blood supply to the brain is abruptly interrupted. When the blood supply is cut off, the part of the brain that no longer receives oxygen does not function correctly, and as a result, the brain cells are at in serious risk of dying due to lack of oxygen. While the effects of a stroke depend primarily on which part of the brain is affected, it is, indeed a very severe condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Arteries in the brain are responsible for carrying and providing oxygen to the different parts of the brain. A stroke occurs when any one of the many arteries in the brain is either blocked or ends up bursting, thus cutting off oxygen to the part of the brain that artery flows to.

Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of a stroke are apparent only after it occurs. The symptoms can vary a great deal and can happen to almost anyone. However, there are several factors that increase the chances of having a stroke, and a stroke in relatively healthy individuals with no risk factors is highly unlikely. The good news is that several preventable steps can be taken to lessen the chances of getting a stroke.

Symptoms of Stroke

Knowing the signs of a stroke can prove to be extremely beneficial in the time of an emergency. While the symptoms of a stroke present differently in both men and women, there are a few symptoms that are in common with both genders. One of the most common signs is a weakness in the arm, leg, or face, often felt on one side of the body.

Symptoms of Stroke in Men

There are several signs of a stroke that can be recognised on time to prevent a mishap. Research for strokes has traditionally been centered on men, which is why most of the well-known signs of strokes are typical in men. Some of the most common signs to look out for are:

  • A sudden loss or disruption of vision in one or both eyes.
  • A sudden paralysis, numbness, weakness of the face, arms, or legs, mostly on one side of the body.
  • The sudden feeling of nausea.
  • Fatigue or trouble breathing.
  • Sudden and severe headache with no identifiable cause.
  • Dizziness, loss of coordination or balance, trouble walking.

Symptoms of Stroke in Women

It is only in recent years where studies have shown that women experience different signs and symptoms of stroke than men. In fact, research says that women are at a higher risk of getting a stroke than men are due to a myriad of reasons. Here are some signs of stroke that are typically seen in women:

  • Seizures
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hiccups
  • Breathing troubles
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • General weakness

Types of Stroke

Not all strokes are the same, which is why the treatment and recovery for them are also different. Strokes generally fall into two categories – Ischemic Stroke and Hemorrhagic Stroke. Both of these categories can be further sub-classified into two other types of strokes.

Types of Ischemic Strokes

An Ischemic Stroke is also known as Brain Ischemia or Cerebral Ischemia and is usually caused when the artery that supplies blood to the brain is blocked. These strokes account for about 87% of all strokes and can be further classified into two kinds.

  • Embolic Stroke

This is a type of Ischemic Stroke where an artery in the brain becomes blocked. An Embolic Stroke occurs when a blood clot from some other part of the body breaks loose and travels via the bloodstream to the brain where it then blocks an artery.

  • Thrombotic Stroke

This type is also an Ischemic Stroke and occurs when the blood clot originates in an artery within the brain itself. The blood clot, or thrombus, is caused due to fatty deposits, or plaque, lining the artery walls, and this condition is known as atherosclerosis. It is generally observed in patients with high cholesterol levels. The plaque reduces the diameter of the artery and causes a blood clot to form, which then blocks the artery entirely.

Types of Hemorrhagic Strokes

A Hemorrhagic Stroke occurs when an already weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain. The compression from the accumulated blood on the surrounding tissues of the brain leads to a Hemorrhagic Stroke.

  • Intracerebral Hemorrhage

This type of stroke is caused when an artery in the brain bursts and leaks blood into the surrounding brain tissue. The bleeding causes the brain cells to die, and that part of the brain stops working as it should. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the main causes of this type of stroke.

  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

This type of Hemorrhagic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts on the surface of the brain, as a result of which the blood leaks into the space between the brain and the skull. The blood collected here begins to put pressure on the blood tissue and causes blood vessels to spasm. Generally, one of the most common causes of subarachnoid hemorrhage is due to a burst aneurysm.

Causes of Stroke

There is no one particular cause for a stroke. Each patient who has suffered from a stroke might have a specific combination of factors that led to one. While this does not mean that the causes of a stroke are unknown, it merely means determining causes are mostly based on the patient’s history and their lifestyle.

While certain conditions that put one at risk of having a stroke can be identified in advance and treated in time, other factors, including genetic causes that cannot be changed are:

  • Age: The risk of having a stroke increases with time as people grow older.
  • Gender: Women are at a higher risk of having a stroke than men.
  • Genetics: The risk factor of having a stroke also increases when one has any recent family history of stroke.
  • Previous stroke: Those who have had a stroke already are at a higher risk of having another stroke.
  • Hypertension: High blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke and is the leading cause of stroke. It puts pressure on the walls of the artery and causes them to weaken.

Medical professionals emphasise on the risk factors of stroke that are based on lifestyle choices and can be combatted by switching to a healthier way of life. Some of these include:

  • Smoking: Smoking causes damage to the walls of the blood vessels, which can lead to blockages.
  • Diabetes: If a patient is diabetic, his risk for a stroke doubles.
  • High cholesterol: High cholesterol increases the chances of a blocked artery due to the buildup of plaque.
  • Obesity: Being overweight and physically inactive increases a patient’s risk of stroke.
  • Heart disease: People who have any heart disease are at a higher risk for a stroke.
  • Excessive alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol increases the chances of having high blood pressure, which in turn increases the chances of stroke.
  • Sleep apnea: Having a sleep disorder can increase the chances of stroke.

Diagnosis of Stroke

In case someone is showing the early signs of having a stroke, it is imperative that one contacts emergency services immediately. A common term to identify the early signs of stroke is FAST- Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech is slurred, Time to Call the Emergency.

Trained and qualifies medical personnel have the tools and the knowledge to be able to diagnose a stroke patient. The symptoms are not to be ignored even if they go away after a while. Doctors have a range of tests and tools at their disposal to be able to diagnose a patient accurately. Here are several medical tests to diagnose a stroke which a doctor will use.

Blood Tests

While a regular blood test cannot diagnose a stroke, a doctor will ask for a series of blood tests to be able to find the cause for the stroke symptoms.

  • CBC or Complete Blood Count: Using this test, a doctor will be able to check if the patient has an infection, clotting issues, or other irregularities in their blood.
  • Serum electrolytes: This test is done in order to eliminate other factors that might be showing the same symptoms as a stroke.
  • Coagulation panel: This test is done in order to check if the stroke was caused by a hemorrhage or due to a clot. If the blood clots quicker than usual, then it is indicative of an Ischemic Stroke. If it clots slower, then it might be a Hemorrhagic Stroke.
  • Cholesterol tests: An increase in cholesterol levels could be a cause of the stroke; hence this test is performed.
  • Blood sugar tests: This test result indicates diabetes could be the reason for the stroke.

Blood tests are also generally done to rule out other infections or medical conditions, or as supporting tests to pinpoint the nature and cause of a stroke.

MRI and CT Scan

Previously, CT scans were used to diagnose a stroke. However, in recent years, there has been a shift to using MRI scans as they are better at diagnosing Ischemic Strokes. An MRI scan shows the extent and location of either the clot or the hemorrhage, and gives the doctor an accurate representation of the severity of the stroke. With the scan, it also becomes possible to see the region of the brain that has been damaged by the stroke. The test is painless and does not put any further stress on the patient.

Electrocardiogram

An Electrocardiogram or an ECG is used to check the health of the patient and identify if the stroke was caused due to any heart disease. Sometimes, this test is conducted to study the health of the heart, which might also be deteriorating and might need emergency care or stabilisation.

Cerebral Angiogram

A cerebral angiogram is used to map out the arteries and flow of blood within the brain. A dye is injected into the carotid artery, which then travels to the brain. A series of X-rays are used to image the dye flowing through the blood vessels in the brain. The angiogram will be able to detect any abnormalities in the vessels such as a blockage or hemorrhage. This test is usually prescribed after an MRI scan.

Carotid Ultrasound

Ultrasound waves are used to image the carotid arteries, which are the vessels responsible for providing blood from the heart to the brain. This test shows up any blockages or narrowing of the arteries present in the region. Often, a Carotid Ultrasound is also used as an exploratory test. If a patient has very high cholesterol levels, their doctor might want to check the health of the carotid arteries and check to see if the patient is at high risk for stroke.

Echocardiogram

This diagnostic test is also used to identify future risks of a stroke in a patient. There are two types of echocardiograms – transthoracic echocardiogram, where the heart is observed through the chest, and transesophageal echocardiogram, where the heart is observed through the throat. For a risk assessment for stroke, the method of transthoracic echocardiogram is used, since it gives information on the size of the chambers of the heart, the movements of the heart walls and the valves. This test is used on patients who are at high risk of getting blood clots, which may eventually break off and find their way to the brain. 

Preventing a Stroke

When discussing how to prevent a stroke, it is essential to talk with the primary healthcare provider, as they have firsthand knowledge of one’s health and medical history. Leading practitioners and researchers have pointed out that there several risk factors that affect the chances of having a stroke. In order to prevent a stroke, it is crucial to take an honest and unbiased look at one’s lifestyle and medical history, so that the way forward in ensuring a healthy life can be decided.

Here is a list of all the risk factors that make an impact on the chances of having a stroke.

Blood Pressure

The number one risk factor for stroke is hypertension or high blood pressure. In the case of hypertensive people, the force of the blood in the arteries is too high, which puts the walls under stress, resulting in damaged or narrowed arteries. Healthy arteries are strong and elastic. High blood pressure decreases the strength of the arteries and makes them less elastic, which reduces the blood flow in the body. Over time, the weakened walls might also cause an aneurysm which can burst and cause a stroke. High blood pressure can also affect the health of the heart, which can then lead to a stroke.

It is advisable to talk to a doctor and get on a regimen to decrease the blood pressure. Taking prescribed medication and making suggested changes to the lifestyle is also recommended.

Blood Lipids

High level of blood lipids is a high-risk factor for a stroke. There are two types of lipids in the bloodstream – LDL and HDL. LDL is the bad type of lipids which can increase the risk for a stroke. When the LDL is above 130mg/dL, they can start to get deposited on the walls of the arteries. Over time, the fatty deposits continue to build-up, which causes the blood vessel to narrow. The build up is known as plaque. Eventually, the plaque can grow to become a full blockage leading to a stroke. In some cases, the narrowed blood vessel gets clogged by a small blood clot with the same result.

High cholesterol can be a genetically cause. Even so, it can be regulated and controlled by switching to prescribed medication depending on the lipid levels. Switching to a healthier diet with less saturated fat may also help. Eating home-cooked meals that are rich in fibre is essential to lowering LDL. Regular physical exercise is a must with a focus on aerobic activities like running, cycling, and swimming.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is also a high-risk factor for stroke since it affects the pathology of the blood vessels. A doctor will prescribe certain blood tests to find out the severity of diabetes before planning the treatment. The first line of defence against diabetes is making sure that one gets enough exercise on a routine basis. Diabetes is caused by several factors, from stress to genetics to an unhealthy diet. However, an increase in physical activity will make a positive impact on blood sugar levels. Reduction in intake of food with a high glycemic index, such as white rice or pasta, is recommended while replacing it with green vegetables. People who are already diabetic, should avoid the intake of sugar and might have also to start a regimen of medications.

Anticoagulation drugs

If the doctor thinks that a person might be at high risk for stroke, then he might prescribe one to take anticoagulation drugs. These blood thinners reduce the blood’s ability to clot, thus reducing the chance of an Ischemic Stroke caused by an embolism. The dosage for the drugs has to be carefully controlled, and the patient must follow the doctor’s prescription faithfully. This is because if the dosage is not right, then it can cause bleeding in the brain.

Surgery

In some rare cases, surgery can be the cause of a stroke. As the human body recovers from surgery, a blood clot or platelet can come loose from the site of the surgery and travel to the brain to cause a stroke. However, the chances of having a stroke due to this reason are very minimal.

Diet

A good diet makes a significant impact on the prevention of a stroke. Having a well-balanced diet that has at least five servings of fruits and vegetables is a good place to start. Slowly, one can begin to replace unhealthy food for healthier alternatives. Reducing the intake of bad fats and sodium in food, while drinking at least 1.2L of water a day is recommended to keep a stroke at bay. Consultation with a nutritionist to form a diet chart will also help.

Women

Women are more likely to have a stroke than men due to several factors. Women have a longer life expectancy than men, and the effects of birth control and pregnancy also contribute to the risk factors of a stroke.

Previous stroke or TIA

A Transient Ischemic Stroke or TIA is a major warning about one’s health. It is a condition where the blood flow to the brain is temporary, and the symptoms disappear fully after the blockage is gone. This should not be ignored, and an immediate doctor consultation is recommended. When it comes to strokes, knowing what one is up against is highly important to develop and execute a treatment plan that is effective.

Treatment of stroke

Timely treatment of stroke can save lives and also prevent a person from being disabled for life. However, treatment largely depends on what the nature of stroke is – whether it is an Ischemic Stroke or Hemorrhagic Stroke. Here is how each of these strokes can be effectively treated.

Ischemic Stroke and TIA

An Ischemic Stroke occurs when a fatty substance called plaque gathers in the arteries and narrows down the blood flow to the brain. The artery gets blocked as a result of the blood clots.

A Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA is a mini-stroke which falls under the category of ischemic strokes. TIA is a temporary blood vessel blockage that lasts twenty-four hours or just for a couple of minutes. However, the symptoms are the same as an Ischemic Stroke.

Ischemic Stroke and TIA are treated by removing any obstruction to restore blood flow into the brain. The recommended and approved medication for this kind of stroke is the use of Tissue Plasminogen Activator, which has to be administered within a window of three hours from the onset of stroke symptoms for it to work best. Unfortunately, only 3 to 5 % of stroke victims reach the hospital in good time for this kind of treatment, making the actual use of Tissue Plasminogen Activator to be considerably low.

Here are a couple of ways in which Ischemic Stroke and TIA can be treated:

Antiplatelet and Anticoagulants

For the early treatment of Ischemic Stroke, patients are generally administered an antiplatelet agent, usually, Aspirin, within 48 hours of the appearance of stroke symptoms. An antiplatelet prevents the development of new blood clots; however, it does not dissolve clots that have already been formed.

This is why often, patients are given anticoagulants like Dabigratan or Apixaban, which act as blood thinners making the blood less prone to form clots. However, anticoagulation comes with the risk of excessive bleeding, which is why it is rarely administered to people who have had acute Ischemic Stroke.

Clot Breaking Drugs

Certain drugs administered during a stroke, in this case, known as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), act as clot breaking drugs. Used in a stroke emergency, tPA is injected into a patient’s vein to break up a blood clot. This drug is always given via intravenous (IV) and not by mouth. However, tPA cannot be administered to people who are at high risk of bleeding.

Mechanical Thrombectomy

This is used to treat stroke patients and involves the use of minimally invasive procedures where an interventional radiologist used modern technology to remove blood clots from the arteries that prevent blood flow to the brain.

Stents

Stents are tiny tubes made of either plastic or metal that doctors use to insert into a blocked passageway to keep it open. The stent afterward restores blood flow into the brain. The doctor uses angiography to insert a catheter that is threaded through the arteries depending on the location deemed to be best for stent placement.

Surgery

If the area affected by a stroke happens to bleed much, a doctor may perform a surgical operation to remove the blood while relieving pressure on the brain. Surgery usually involves opening up an artery that has been narrowed by plaque. The most common type of surgery involves a procedure of Carotid Endarterectomy, which is done to remove plaque along the carotid arteries that run along the sides of one’s neck.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

A Hemorrhagic Stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel bursts and starts to bleed into the brain. The leaked blood exerts pressure and ends up causing damage to the blood cells.

This type of stroke needs surgery to relieve the pressure on the brain that results from bleeding. This involves surgical treatment to prevent additional strokes that are caused by a ruptured blood vessel or an aneurysm.

Medications

Treatment for these kinds of strokes does not involve the use of blood thinners or anticoagulants, since thinning the blood would only worse the bleeding inside the brain. For people who are already under prescribed blood-thinning medicines, the doctor might administer counter effect drugs to slow the bleeding process.

Coiling

A relatively newer method to treat strokes, coiling, treats aneurysms- both ruptured and unruptured, by isolating the affected aneurysm or AVM and keeping it away from the area of healthy blood circulation. It is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a catheter to reach the affected site, introduce a platinum coil, and block normal blood from flowing into that area.

 

Clamping 

This involves a surgical procedure conducted under general anaesthesia, where a piece of the patient’s skull is removed to locate the aneurysm in the brain tissue. A clamp is then placed at its base to prevent bleeding or re-bleeding. At the end of the procedure, the piece of skull is replaced.

 

Surgery 

Surgery is performed to seal any defective blood vessel, and blood flow is redirected to other vessels supplying blood to the same brain region. In case a patient has a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, the aneurysm is surgically eliminated at first. At some point during this period, cerebral angiography is conducted to document the elimination of the aneurysm.

Stroke Medications

Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)   

Plasminogen activators—bacterial, eukaryotic, or other engineered forms that can advance fibrinolysis by changing over plasminogen into dynamic plasmin and act as clot breaking drugs are utilised in the intense treatment of Ischaemic Stroke. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is a fibrinolytic agent that occurs naturally in vascular endothelial cells and has fibrin specificity of extremely high nature. The binding of tPA with plasminogen helps convert the same into plasmin- an enzyme that effectively breaks down and dissolves the blood clot.

Subsequently, plasminogen activators have become a significant area for clinical examination for their ability to re-canalise blocked supply routes in Ischaemic Stroke and to quicken clearance of hematoma in Hemorrhagic Stroke.

Anticoagulants

For a long time, anticoagulants have been utilised in the emergency treatment of patients with intense Ischemic Stroke. Anticoagulants are recommended with the ultimate goal of preventing the first or even the chances of a repetitive stroke, particularly among patients with cardioembolism, because of blood vessel fibrillation and atherosclerotic large-artery disease.

Anticoagulants are drugs commonly known as blood thinners and are the first medicines administered by a doctor right after a stroke.  In the case of patients at high risk of stroke, they prevent the blood from clotting that could eventually result in one.

 

Antiplatelet drugs

Antiplatelets are a diverse agent group with the ability to reduce platelet action in several ways. Most strokes are brought about by an abrupt blockage of a blood supply route in the brain, well known as “Ischemic Stroke” as a result of blood coagulation. Quick treatment with antiplatelet medications like Ibuprofen could prevent the formation of new clots and thus improve recuperation after stroke. Drugs like Aspirin are also effective in lessening stroke seriousness. In the case of a stroke, the blood vessels burst, and the platelets become sticky and form a clump. Often this sticky clump may lead to a stroke, which is where antiplatelet drugs play their part by making the blood less sticky.

Statins

Aside from blood pressure-lowering medications and antithrombotic agents in certain circumstances, statins are one of the most effective medications that reduce the risk of major coronary events and stroke in patients that are at a higher vascular risk as well. Statins have been tested to modulate thrombogenesis, improve endothelial function, attenuate oxidative stress and inflammatory damage, and also facilitate angiogenesis way beyond reducing levels of cholesterol levels. Statins also decrease cardiovascular risk significantly and improve clinical outcomes.

 

Blood pressure drugs 

Hypertension is a typical early finding in patients who have encountered an acute Ischemic Stroke. It happens both in patients who have been normotensive and in the individuals who have been getting antihypertensive treatment before the stroke. In most cases, hypertension that comes after an Ischemic Stroke is transient, regularly lasting about 24–48 hours. The rise in blood pressure is due to:

  • Impaired Neurogenic Cardiovascular control
  • Autonomic dysregulation.
  • Baroreflex failure
  • Increased sympathetic drive
  • The reflex response to cerebral ischemia
  • Mental stress

There is an increase in blood pressure in at least 75% of acute stroke patients, which is associated with poor results. Regulation of blood pressure in acute stroke has, for some time, been a point of discussion. With normal cerebral autoregulation lost, theoretical concerns are either of the following:

  • High blood pressure can lead to hematoma expansion, hemorrhagic transformation, or cerebral edema
  • Low blood pressure can lead to perihematomal ischemia or increased cerebral infarction

Blood pressure -owering has been recommended in acute intracerebral hemorrhage and is also safe in ischaemic stroke as well.

Recovery from Stroke

A stroke can take a toll on the muscles by breaking the vital connection between the brain and muscles. This may lead to loss of movement and mobility and sometimes may also lead to long term disability. The saving grace is that the loss of movement and mobility may not always be permanent.

Adopting various therapies and other modes of recoveries can help regain control over affected muscles. Following are some methods of recovery from a stroke that may help in regaining control over affected muscles and movement: 

Speech Therapy

The inability to understand and communicate, also known as Aphasia, is the most common side-effect of stroke. One of the widely used methods of regaining control over this disability is through Speech Therapy. A speech-language pathologist or speech therapist can help stroke patients regain and improve their hampered ability to communicate.

Here are some speech therapies that can be suggested by an SLP or speech-language pathologist according to the severity of the condition:

  • Personal Speech Therapy Sessions: These sessions are great for word retrievals and may include exercises such as loud reading, word-puzzle solving, writing lists such as grocery/shopping, and more. A therapist may also engage the patient in role-playing that encourages the patient in word interactions.
  • Arranging Group Therapy Sessions: Such sessions are arranged in a group with people who are also suffering from the same condition. The aims of such sessions are to practice through conversations with fellow patients and relearn the lost skills.
  • Opting for Modern App-based Exercises: Sometimes, speech therapists may also recommend mobile phone apps that are designed to help the patient practice at home or other places without the help of the therapist.
  • Help with Swallowing: Apart from helping with language and speech, the therapist can also guide a patient about various feeding techniques, apt positioning, and food and drink recommendations to help improve oral motor functioning.

Cognitive Therapy

Stroke patients may sometimes experience certain cognitive changes and emotional difficulties. This happens due to the physical changes that occur in the brain tissue, which hampers with information processing, memory, executive functioning, and other such cognitive difficulties.

Here are some cognitive rehabilitation or cognitive remediation techniques that can be helpful:

  • Engaging the patient in attention-enhancing exercises that need internal neurological functioning can be helpful. In such exercises, the patient’s auditory and visual skills are engaged.
  • Using compensatory strategies that include making a daily planner or writing a dairy to help the patient in conducting the day to day activities more effectively is recommended.
  • Interdependent functions such as memory, attention, and executive functioning can impact daily functioning. Therefore, exercises to increase working memory, attention capacity and short-term memory are suggested.

Relearning Sensory Skills

Loss of sensory attributes is a common drawback that is faced by patients post-stroke. These sensory issues usually crop up because of the damage that usually occurs on the right side of the brain. Sensory re-education exercises can help in relearning sensory skills through neuroplasticity, and repetitive practice.

Here are some exercises that are suggested for regaining sensory skills:

  • Touch therapy: This begins by placing various objects on a table and blindfolding one’s eyes, who then tries to identify various objects by touching them.
  • Texture therapy: This involves placing objects of varying textures in a bowl of sand. The patient feels these objects and tries to identify them.
  • Temperature change: This begins by taking two bowls, one with cold and other with warm water. The patient’s hands are placed one by one in both the bowls to feel the temperature difference.

These are some of the exercises that can help with sensory skills. However, a doctor may advise one with other additional exercises based on the severity of the condition.

Physical therapy

Sometimes patients may lose control in their limbs such as one arm or leg, causing partial paralysis. Physical therapy is a great way of toning and stimulating these affected muscles to prevent muscle stiffness and maintain proper blood circulation. Physical therapy sessions are usually custom made to suit different requirements of different patients.

The doctor may advise a patient any of the following therapies:

  • Inpatient rehabilitation sessions: These sessions or programs are for patients with severe physical damage, and thus they will be required to stay in the hospital for on the clock medical care and rehabilitation.
  • Outpatient physical therapy programs: These programs include the patients to remain in the hospital for a few hours. This includes rehabilitation services with less medical assistance and supervision.
  • Physical therapy exercises or programs that are home-based: During these sessions, the therapist usually comes home to give sessions to strengthen and stimulate the muscles. This is usually advised after a patient is discharged from the hospital and in cases where acute care is required.

Facility of Stroke in CMRI

After a stroke has occurred, the first 20 minutes are crucial in maximising the patient’s chances of survival. The Calcutta Medical Research Institute or CMRI in Kolkata completely understands the gravity of this situation. With comprehensive, state of the art neurological facilities, CMRI is one of the best in the country when it comes to treating a stroke. The stroke unit at CMRI specialises in the fields of spine and brain surgery to give patients the best possible care.

CMRI’s Stroke Clinic includes, among other things, a dedicated thrombolysis facility. Thrombolysis is how major blood clots, which cause Ischemic Strokes, are dissolved to prevent or minimise damage to organs, muscles, and tissue. Additionally, the Neuro Intensive Care Unit at CMRI has the most specialised care for those who have suffered serious issues with the brain. Rather than a general ICU, the Neuro Intensive Care Unit is specifically catered to neurological emergencies, including a stroke, so that a patient can be assured of accurate and timely treatment and care.

Also available, as part of the facility, are Stroke and TIA Clinics, crucial in the after-care of strokes. A TIA, or a Transient Ischemic Attack, is a form of mini-stroke that lasts for significantly less time, but exhibits similar symptoms. Treating these TIAs early is crucial in preventing a stroke, which has more lasting consequences. CMRI’s specialised team is able to identify these symptoms and treat them early to prevent major mishaps from any neurological issues.

FAQs 

  • What are some tell-tale signs that someone is suffering a stroke?

Unless a medical professional is present at the scene, accurately spotting the symptoms of a stroke may be difficult. However, there are some signs a family member, relative or bystanders can look out for. The victim of a stroke may feel suddenly lightheaded and weak, have difficulty standing or seeing, and lose balance and coordination. They may also have issues with their vision and severe headaches.

Typically, spotting the symptoms of a stroke follows the FAST rule. The acronym refers to Facial Drooping, Arm weakness, Speech being slurred, and after which it is Time to call for help.

  • What are the types of strokes that can occur?

There are two main types of stroke that may occur- Ischemic Stroke and Hemorrhagic Stroke. While in an Ischemic Stroke, a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked, in a Hemorrhagic Stroke, which is more dangerous, there is bleeding in and around the brain due to a blood vessel bursting. It is estimated that the vast majority of strokes – around 87% – are Ischemic.

  • What is the recovery time from a stroke?

The recovery from a stroke can vary widely depending on its seriousness, the age of the victim, and more. There may also be some complications they may have suffered, which can lengthen the recovery process. The majority of recovery from any stroke happens in 6 months to a year after the stroke has occurred.

  • How are strokes treated?

In the immediate aftermath of suffering a stroke, patients are given medication to remove blood clots, surgery, and radiology, while those suffering a Hemorrhagic Stroke may need immediate surgery. Following the immediate risk, however, there is also a lengthy rehabilitation process for those who have survived a stroke.

  • Are some people more at risk than others?

Yes. Those with very stressful lifestyles are at risk for a stroke. High blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and sedentary lifestyles, which can lead to obesity, are also contributing factors for a stroke. Diabetes and other medical issues which lead to strokes can be managed early to prevent the same.