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Stroke – Important Information

Stroke – Important Information

Stroke is  “BRAIN ATTACK “ similar to a heart attack.
Every 6 seconds someone in the world suffers a stroke
Stroke is a common neurological disorder in clinical practice.
A second leading cause of death, after a heart attack

Some questions in Stroke are  – Who /  When/ Where/  Why do people develop stroke?

Stroke in numbers

  • One stroke occurs every 6 seconds
  • One in six can develop stroke
  • India -40-140 /lakh population ,lesser in rural- 13/0ne lakh  population ,  more in  Urban -163/one lakh  population
  • Stroke in persons less than 40 yrs is about 12%

What is a stroke?

Focal neurological deficit caused by disruption of blood circulation to the brain, which can be due to obstruction of the blood vessel called thrombosis, clot-forming elsewhere like heart and being sent to the brain called as embolism or breakage of a blood vessel with blood in the brain called as brain hemorrhage.

What are the common symptoms to identify a stroke?

  • If you have any of the following symptoms please see a doctor immediately as it may be a stroke
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Loss of sensation in ½ of body
  • Speech difficulty
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

What produces stroke?

  1.  Obstruction to  arteries ie blood vessel which supplies blood to the brain or narrowing of bloodvessel called stenosis
  2.  Clot arising in heart pushed to brain  eg Cardiac embolism
  3.  Narrowing of a blood vessel (similar to rusting of iron pipes ) called  Atherosclerosis
  4.  Small vessel in brain-damaged due to high BP /sugar etc
  5.  Drop-in blood pressure

 What makes you likely to have a stroke?

  • Age >65yrs, being male increases the risk of stroke
  • DM/HT/Cardiac disease/high lipids
  • Previous strokes
  • Family history of  strokes
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol

Treatment in Stroke –

Stroke can progress for about a week since onset in spite of appropriate and adequate treatment If you are having a Stroke or feel one coming go to the hospital right away. You will be getting the following tests depending upon your condition: CT or MRI of the brain, EKG, Carotid Ultrasound, Echocardiogram, Blood work – sugar, Lipid Profile (checking your cholesterol level), etc is done.

If you are diagnosed within the first 3-4 1/2 hr with stroke and if there is no hemorrhage you may be given a clot-busting drug to dissolve the clot  This decision is to be individualized. Occasionally the clot can be removed using certain devices also.

Blood thinners called antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin, clopidogrel, dipyridamole may be given if no hemorrhage. Statins that reduce cholesterol may be added Control of Diabetes and High blood pressure will be optimized.

If weakness, swallowing, or speech problems are present physiotherapy, speech, and swallowing therapy may be initiated.

Strokes being a BRAIN ATTACK is an EMERGENCY, but not recognized as it has different symptoms occur in different persons depending on the region of the brain affected. It can affect not only the person with stroke, but the whole family as stroke can produce a lot of disability which can be long-lasting.


Article by
Dr . K.Bhanu
Director of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Dr. Mehta’s Hospitals

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