Stroke is the second most common cause of death worldwide. Hemorrhagic stroke is the rupture of a weakened artery in the blood while Ischemic stroke occurs due to occlusion of the artery supplying blood to the brain due to a blood clot or blockage. Both types obstruct the oxygen supply to the brain leading to death of the brain cells. Strokes could be potentially fatal and can occur at any age.
Explaining all ‘S’ of Stroke:
Spotting a Stroke
Perceiving a stroke on own could be a challenging task since it clouds the brain’s judgment. However, for a person standing by a stroke victim, identification of this medical emergency could enable fast action. The extent of recovery depends solely on the time taken to initiate primary treatment. For a patient of stroke, every minute counts. There could be confusion, sudden weakness, imbalance or even loss of consciousness. The easiest way to memorize the warning signs of a stroke is through the acronym FAST
F – Face drooping
A- Arm Drifting downwards
S – Speech Slurring
T – Time to call help
The possibility of experiencing a second stroke drastically rises with a previous history of stroke. Rehabilitation, emotional support, and a healthy lifestyle could be key players in your road to recovery. Monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar regularly could prevent your chances of second stroke by about 80%. It is also essential to be conscious of the warning signs and the “FAST” abbreviation to enable quick treatment.
A stroke, like all injuries, leaves a scar on your brain. This scar tissue causes disorganized electrical activity in your brain leading to a seizure. Most seizures aren’t detrimental to the brain and are the common side effect of the stroke. The first 24 hours or the few weeks after a stroke are crucial when stroke victims are most prone to developing a seizure. Rarely, seizures could scale up to post-stroke epilepsy.
Spasticity occurs when a stroke damages the portion of the brain that controls muscular movement leading to overactive reflexes of the muscles. Spasticity leads to involuntary contraction of the muscles leading to stiffness or localized pain. This can cause a tight fist or toe-curling which limits the range of motion making it almost impossible to move. Muscle relaxants, Botox injections or braces are recommended to manage spasticity.
A stroke changes our sensory perceptions leading to numbness, tingling or paralysis of one side of the body. There may also be a heightened sense of pain. The brain is confused and unable to distinguish temperature differences and eel sense temperature,
Until recently it was a well-accepted notion that the brain is a post-mitotic organ, meaning it could not repair or regrow its neurons once they die. Recent research has however demonstrated that if not self-regenerative; new neurons can be produced with the help of stem cells infusion. Stem cell therapy is a promising new treatment for patients of stroke. Stem cells transplanted into the damaged brain site release therapeutic factors that nourish the new brain cells or neurons and can help in rewiring the brain circuits. It’s a new ray for even patients who showed motor impairment even years after stroke incidence. A major clinical trial in California conducted in 2016 revealed promising results for stroke victims. Patients regained motor function and there were cases where wheelchair-bound patients could walk again. There were improvements irrespective of the age of the patient and even people aged 70 or more showed significant signs of improvement.