Stroke

A stroke is a medical emergency where there is insufficient blood supply to the brain. This may be caused from a blockage of a blood vessel feeding the brain or, alternatively, resulting from haemorrhage of a blood vessel within the brain. The symptoms experienced by the patient depend on the part of the brain affected by the stroke.

Stroke Drugs

Stroke Symptoms

Symptoms of a stroke have sudden onset and can become fatal within minutes. Early identification of the symptoms of a stroke are, therefore, essential.

  • Symptoms such as loss of limb control, muscle weakness on one side of the body, and disturbed speech, all contribute to the diagnosis of a stroke.
  • The specific symptoms a patient experiences depends on the part of the brain affected by the clot or haemorrhage. These symptoms vary from numbness and hearing loss, to vertigo and loss of consciousness. Patients do not typically experience a headache unless the stroke emerges from the subarachnoid layer of the brain.

Stroke Causes

There are two principal causes of stroke – ischaemia and haemorrhage.

  • Ischaemic stroke occurs when a blood clot – also known as a thrombus – lodges into a blood vessel that feeds the brain. This results in a marked loss of oxygen availability to the part of the brain affected by this lodgement.
  • Alternatively, haemorrhagic stroke results from bleeding within the brain, as what might occur if a blood vessel were to rupture. Together, both ischaemic stroke and haemorrhagic stroke are the primary causes of stroke in affected individuals, though these two causes may result from an additional underlying cause such as hypertension or cardiovascular disease.

Stroke Diagnosis

There are numerous techniques available that can be employed to diagnose a stroke. A patient might, for example, undergo scans such as CT or MRI – particularly if the patient is known to have suffered an ischaemic stroke. Patients who have experienced a hemorrhagic stroke typically undergo MRI as it’s deemed more effective, but the diagnostic team may also choose to perform a CT scan. Before the patient undergoes these scans, various clinical criteria are identified in the patient. Criteria such as the symptomatic expression of a stroke are identified – what is known as a physical examination. This examination looks for neurological signs, particularly the symptom of losing the ability to move one side of the body. Once the diagnostic team determines a stroke has been experienced, the patient may then undergo a CT or MRI scan.

Stroke Treatment

Symptoms of a stroke have sudden onset and can become fatal within minutes. Early identification of the symptoms of a stroke are, therefore, essential.

  • Symptoms such as loss of limb control, muscle weakness on one side of the body, and disturbed speech, all contribute to the diagnosis of a stroke.
  • The specific symptoms a patient experiences depends on the part of the brain affected by the clot or haemorrhage. These symptoms vary from numbness and hearing loss, to vertigo and loss of consciousness. Patients do not typically experience a headache unless the stroke emerges from the subarachnoid layer of the brain.