What is Stroke Paralysis, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Stroke Paralysis

A stroke is always serious. Cells in the brain that become damaged cannot be repaired or regenerated. But other areas of the brain may take over the work of the damage. Most people know they should seek emergency medical help immediately, if they are having symptoms of a heart attack. 

But the average stroke patient waits more than 12 hours before going to a hospital emergency department, losing precious time that could be critical to treatment. Stroke was first recognized more than 2,400 years ago by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who described a condition marked by the sudden onset paralysis.

There are steps you can take to help prevent a stroke. Healthy living is very important in stroke prevention. There are also successful treatments if it does happen.

Different Types of Strokes

Stroke caused by blocked blood flow

About 85% of all strokes happen because not enough blood gets to the brain. Blood flow stops when as artery carrying blood to the brain becomes blocked. The technical name for this type of brain attack is cerebral infraction. It is also called ischemic stroke. “Ischemic” refers to a condition caused by a decreased supply of oxygenated blood to a body part.

The blockage can be caused either by a blood clot that forms in an artery in the brain, or by a blood clot formed elsewhere in the body that travels through the bloodstream to the brain. If this clot becomes stuck in an artery in the brain, a stroke can result.

Clots are more likely in arteries that are damaged by atherosclerosis (blockage), also called “hardening of the arteries,” due to the building of cholesterol and other thick, rough, fatty deposits in the arteries.

The blockage can also be caused by a small piece of tissue, usually a blood clot that has travelled through the bloodstream from elsewhere in the body.
In ischemic stroke, one of two major arteries is usually involved:
The carotid artery (most commonly involved site)

The Basilar Artery

The carotid arteries start at the aorta (just above the heart) and lead up through the neck, around the windpipe, and into the brain. The basilar artery is formed at the base of the skull form the arteries that run up along the spine, and branches off in the brain.

Stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.

The other 15% of strokes happen when an artery carrying blood to the brain burst suddenly. The bursting can happen because of a weak spot in the wall of an artery called an aneurysm. This type of brain attack is called a hemorrhagic stroke. Two kinds of stroke are caused by bleeding in the brain.

A subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel on the brain bursts and bleeds into the fluid-filled space between the brain and the skull. This type of stroke can happen at any age.

An intracerebral haemorrhage occurs when an artery burst inside the brain, flooding the surrounding brain tissue with blood. This type of stroke is often associated with high blood pressure.

Mini strokes

Mini strokes are exactly like a stroke, but it last only a short time and leaves no disability. The term for this event is transient ischemic attack or TIA. A TIA happens when a blood clot an artery temporarily, cutting off blood flow and, consequently, the supply of oxygen to cells. But the difference between a TIA and a stroke is that, with TIA, the blood clot dissolves on its own and blood flow is resorted before permanent damage to the brain can occur. TIAs are an extremely important warning sign for stroke and should never be ignored.

What increases the risk for a stroke?

Anybody can have a stroke, but certain factors place a person at higher risk. Some factors that increase the risk of stroke cannot be changed, while others are linked to lifestyle.

Risk factors that cannot be changed

Age – The older a person gets the greater risk for stroke.

Sex – Men are more likely to have a stroke than women are.

Diabetes – People with diabetes mellitus are more at risk.
A history of migraine headaches – Recent studies indicate that women who experience migraines are at higher risk for ischemic stroke.
A prior stroke – Someone who has had a stroke has a slightly increased risk for another.
Risk factors that can be changed with medical treatment
High blood pressure
TIAs or mini strokes
Berry aneurysms
Cardiovascular disease
Risk factors that can be changed by lifestyle modifications
High blood cholesterol levels
Cigarette smoking
Taking birth control pills if you are a smoker
Drinking large amounts of alcohol
Lack of exercise
Poor diet

How is a stroke investigated?

A stroke is a medical emergency, regardless of whether it is a major stroke or a short lasting TIA. A person suffering a stroke should be taken immediately to a hospital emergency department.

The ability to pinpoint quickly the precise location of a stroke and determine the extent of damage is critically important in treatment decisions. A stroke caused by a blocked artery is treated in an entirely different way than a stroke caused by bleeding within the brain.

The key to survival and recovery is prompt medical treatment. If a stroke is caused by a blocked artery, medications are now available to reverse damage to the brain and significantly increase the odds of survival. However, these medications are effective only if they are given within a few hours of the time when the first stroke symptoms begin.

Possible effects of stroke

The length of the stay in the hospital and the type of treatment will depend on the severity of the stroke. Many people need some form of therapy to help their relearn skills lost because of the stroke.

What can happen to a person after a stroke?

A stroke affects different people in different ways. While some people make a full recovery, others may find that some problems to persist. These may include: speech changes, vision changes, memory and concentration difficulties, paralysis, weakness and stiffness, difficulty in eating and swallowing, mood changes, difficulties with personal relationships, and other challenges.

Can strokes be prevented?

The best way to prevent strike is to reduce your risk factors and take control of your own health.
Stop smoking.
Keep your weight within normal limits.
Get a moderate amount of exercise at least five days a week.
Eat healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in fats.
If you have diabetes, keep it under control.
If you have high blood pressure, be sure to keep a good control.
Know the warning signs of TIAs and strokes, and get help right away if you are experience them.

No comments