Symptoms of stroke, prevention, treatment, risk factors


Stroke victims must be treated as soon as possible. One of the most important treatments loses its effectiveness if it is not given within three to four hours of the onset of the stroke. Therefore, it is essential to call 911 immediately if you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke. Although stroke treatment and success rates have improved dramatically over the past decade, timing is essential.

“Waiting shouldn’t be part of the decision process,” says Edward C. Jauch, MD, of the Medical University of South Carolina. Some stroke victims may not be aware of their symptoms or may be unable to communicate, adds Jauch, lead author of the American Heart Association’s 2013 Acute Ischemic Stroke Guidelines.

Two types of stroke

About 87 percent of all strokes are “Ischemic”, and occur when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain or an artery in the brain. If given on time, anticoagulant treatments and intra-arterial catheter therapy using new “stent retrievers” can help reduce the damage caused by this type of stroke, so getting it right is absolutely essential. treatment quickly. There are now two strategies for removing the stroke-causing clot, says Walter Koroshetz, MD, director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The drug, tPA, is given by injection and has been shown to dissolve clots and improve results if given within three to four hours of the onset of the stroke. In people whose clots block larger arteries in the brain, a specialist can pass a catheter through the blocked cerebral artery and remove the clot. This procedure has been shown to be effective if done within six hours of a stroke in patients who have not responded to tPA.

The second type of stroke is “hemorrhagic” and occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks, causing bleeding in the brain. These strokes usually need to be treated in intensive care and may require surgery.

A mini-stroke, or “transient ischemic attack,” is caused when the blood to the brain is temporarily disrupted. Symptoms, the same as for major strokes, only last about an hour and then go away.

Recognizing and treating TIAs right away can lower your risk for a major stroke. “Call 911 or go to the hospital immediately, as that can signal a full-blown stroke is imminent – maybe in a few hours. It’s unpredictable, ”Koroshetz says.

Treatment may include blood thinners to help prevent clotting, surgery to clear a blocked artery, or treatment plans for underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.

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