A stroke, also called brain attack is a medical emergency wherein blood flow to the brain stops and the brain cells begin to die within minutes causing permanent neurological damage, complications and death. Brain stroke is of two kinds – ischemic stroke & hemorrhagic stroke. The more common one is ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot that plugs a blood vessel in the brain. The hemorrhagic stroke is caused by breakage and bleeding of blood vessels in the brain. Transient ischemic attacks occur when the blood supply to the brain is briefly interrupted.
The symptoms of brain stroke appear all of a sudden and with high severity. Some common symptoms are as follows:
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg.
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
• Trouble seeing / blurred vision in one or both eyes.
• Trouble in walking, dizziness, loss of balance / coordination.
• Unexpected severe headache with no known cause.
In case the above mentioned symptoms are seen, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Who are at High Risk?
Stroke can occur in people of all age groups and in both sexes. It can occur before birth, even when the fetus is in the womb. People with the following factors are more prone to stroke:
• Advanced age.
• Hypertension (high blood pressure).
• Previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
• High cholesterol.
• Cigarette smoking.
• Atrial fibrillation.
• Lack of physical activity, obesity and unhealthy diet.
• Heavy alcohol consumption.
People who have had a stroke are admitted in the specialized wing that is dedicated to the area and is staffed by therapists with experience in stroke treatment. It is evident that patients admitted in the stroke unit have a higher and better chance of survival than those admitted in general or in any other department. When a stroke is suspected by history and physical examination, the primary goal is to assess the cause immediately. Treatment to stroke varies according to the cause and type of the stroke, ischemic or hemorrhagic. A CT scan rapidly helps in identifying a stroke by imaging in or around the brain.