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Attend to Stroke or BrainAttack

Overview of stroke…

Stroke or brain attack occurs when blood flow to brain is blocked by a clot. As a result, the cells in the brain die affecting its corresponding functions in one side of the body. Stroke is a lifestyle as well as age-related disease and enormity of the problem can be realized from the fact that over 3,000 persons in India get afflicted by stroke every day.

It is crucial that stroke is identified by the symptoms and warning signs so that the patient is transferred to a medical facility in the shortest time. The sooner the treatment starts the better will be the final outcome. Ideally treatment should start within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms, but in any case within 8 hours. Delay beyond 8 hours may render the patient permanently paralyzed.

Prevention of stroke…

Keep diabetes and blood pressure under control. Keep stress under check because high stress is one of the causes for high blood pressure. Do not smoke and exercise regularly. Avoid being overweight or obese. Go in for regular tests to check for lipids, blood sugar, B12 etc. If coronary artery disease or carotid artery disease is suspected, doctor may carry out coronary angiography or carotid angiography followed by coronary angioplasty and carotid angioplasty respectively.

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1. Symptoms and warning signs

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance
Sudden weakness or numbness of face, arm or leg, specially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
Blurred or double vision in eyes, drowsiness, nausea
Severe headache

2. Recognize a stroke by these signs:

Ask the individual to smile. Does the one side of face droop?
Ask him/her to raise arms. Does one arm drift downwards?
Ask him/her to repeat a simple phrase or sentence. Is the speech slurred?
Ask the person to stick out the tongue. Does it veer to one side?

3. Act fast to shift patient to hospital

In case of brain attacks time is critical.
The patient has to be shifted to hospital quickly where a CT scan or MRI
is done to determine cause of stroke.
Most strokes are caused by a blocked artery, whereas a few are caused
by a ruptured artery.

4. Treatment if stroke is caused by a blocked artery

This depends on the time that has elapsed from the time of stroke to the time when treatment starts.
In the first 3 hours: An intravenous Thrombolytic injection
Between 3 to 6 hours: A Thromolytic injection into the blocked artery.
Between 3 to 8 hours: The block can be extracted.

5. Post-Stroke Situation

Delay in treatment may lead to irreversible effects like acute paralysis, incontinence and speech impairment. However, timely treatment can reduce the impact. Physio-therapy over a period of time can enable the patient to lead a almost-normal life. Help and support of family members is crucial at this stage.

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