What is Stroke?

What is Stroke?


Definition of Stroke

Stroke is a condition that occurs when blood supply to the brain is disrupted or reduced due to a blockage (ischemic stroke) or rupture of blood vessels (hemorrhagic stroke). Without blood, the brain will not get oxygen and nutrition, so cells in some areas of the brain will die. Thus, this condition causes parts of the body to not function properly.

Stroke is an emergency condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible, because brain cells can die in just minutes. Therefore, quick and appropriate treatment measures can minimize the level of brain damage and prevent the possibility of complications.

Stroke Risk Factors

There are several factors that increase the risk of it. In addition to stroke, this risk factor can also increase the risk of heart attack. These factors include:

  1. Health factors, which include:
    • Hypertension.
    • Diabetes.
    • High cholesterol.
    • Obesity.
    • Heart disease, such as heart failure, congenital heart disease, heart infections, or arrhythmias.
    • Sleep apnea.
    • Have had a Transient ischemic attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke) or heart attack before.
  2. Lifestyle factors, which include:
    • Smoking.
    • Lack of exercise or physical activity.
    • Use of illegal drugs.
    • Alcohol addiction.
  3. Other factors, which include:
    • Heredity. People who have family members who have had a stroke are at high risk of experiencing the same disease.
    • With increasing age, a person has a higher risk of stroke compared to younger people.

What is the Causes

Based on the cause, there are two types of it

  • Ischemic stroke.
    It occurs when the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the brain are narrowed, causing blood flow to the brain to be greatly reduced. This condition is also called ischemia. There are 2 types of Ischemic strokes, namely thrombotic strokes and embolic strokes.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke.
    It occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and causes bleeding. There are several conditions affect blood vessel that can trigger bleeding in brain, such as uncontrolled hypertension, weakening of the walls of blood vessels, and treatment with blood thinners. There are two types of Hemorrhagic stroke, namely intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

What are the Symptoms

Each part of the brain controls different parts of the body, so the symptoms of a stroke depend on the part of the brain affected and the level of damage. That is why the symptoms or signs of stroke can vary from person to person. However, strokes generally appear suddenly. There are three main symptoms of stroke that are easy to recognize :

  • One side of the face will look down and unable to smile because the mouth or eyes droop.
  • Unable to lift one arm because it feels weak or numb. Not only the arms, limbs that are one side with the arms are also experiencing weakness.
  • Speech is unclear, chaotic, or even unable to speak at all even though the patient looks conscious.

Some other symptoms and signs of stroke are:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Severe headaches that come suddenly, accompanied by stiffness in the neck and spinning dizziness (vertigo).
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), resulting in choking.
  • Disturbances in body balance and coordination.
  • Sudden loss of vision.

Stroke Diagnosis

If you experience symptoms as above, you should go to the hospital immediately to get treatment. In order to determine the type of treatment that is most appropriate for people with stroke, the doctor will first evaluate the type of stroke and the area of the brain that has had a stroke.

As an initial step in the diagnosis, firstly doctor asks the patient or the patient’s family members about several things, which include:

  • Symptoms experienced, the initial appearance of symptoms, and what the patient is doing when the symptoms appear.
  • Types of medicines that are being consumed.
  • Does the patient have suffered an injury to the head.
  • Checking the medical history of the sufferer and family sufferers related to heart disease, mini stroke (TIA), and stroke.

Then, the doctor performs a physical examination of the patient as a whole, which usually begins by checking blood pressure, heart rate, and abnormal noise in the blood vessels of the neck using a stethoscope.

The doctor can also recommend further tests, such as blood tests, CT scans, MRI, electrocardiography, carotid doppler ultrasound, and echocardiography

Some Complications

It can cause various kinds of complications, and most of these complications are fatal. Several types of complications that may arise include:

  • Some people will experience blood clots in the limbs that experience paralysis. This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis. This condition occurs due to the cessation of leg muscle movement, so that the flow in the leg veins is interrupted. Thus, this will increase the risk for blood clots. Deep vein thrombosis can be treated with anticoagulant drugs.
  • Some people with hemorrhagic stroke can experience hydrocephalus, which is the accumulation of brain fluid in a cavity deep in the brain (ventricles). The neurosurgeon will install a tube into the brain to remove the fluid that has accumulated.
  • Damage caused by a stroke can disrupt the swallowing reflex, resulting in the risk of food and drinks entering the respiratory tract. The problem with swallowing is known as dysphagia. Dysphagia can cause aspiration pneumonia.

What are the treatment

Specific treatment given to people with it depends on the type of stroke they have experienced, ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke.

  • Treatment of ischemic stroke.
  • Early treatment will focus on maintaining the respiratory, controlling blood pressure, and restoring blood flow. Handling can be done by injecting rtPA (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator), antiplatelet drugs, blood thinning drugs (anticoagulants), antihypertensive drugs, statin drugs, as well as carrying out carotid endarterectomy operations and angioplasty.
  • Treatment of hemorrhagic stroke.
  • In the case of it, initial treatment aims to reduce pressure on the brain and control bleeding. There are several forms of treatment for hemorrhagic stroke, including taking drugs and surgery.
  • Treatment of TIA(Transient Ischemic Attack).
  • TIA treatment aims to reduce risk factors that can trigger a stroke, so that heart disease can be prevented. The doctor will prescribe drugs that include antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs, cholesterol drugs, and antihypertensive drugs, depending on the patient’s risk factors. In some cases, a carotid endarterectomy procedure is necessary if there is a buildup of fat in the carotid artery treatment

How to Prevent it

The main way to prevent stroke is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. In addition, recognize and avoid risk factors that exist, and follow the doctor’s advice. Some of it prevention measures include:

  • Keep the diet.
    Too much eating salty and fatty foods can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of causing hypertension that can trigger a stroke. Avoid excessive salt consumption. The ideal salt consumption is 6 grams or one teaspoon per day. The recommended foods are foods that are rich in unsaturated fats, proteins, vitamins, and fiber. All these nutrients can be obtained from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat meats such as skinless chicken breast.
  • Exercise regularly.
    Regular exercise can make the heart and circulatory system work more efficiently. Exercise can also reduce cholesterol levels and maintain body weight and blood pressure at healthy levels.
  • Quit smoking.
    Smokers are twice as likely to have a stroke, because smoking can narrow blood vessels and make blood clot easily. Not smoking also means reducing the risk of various other health problems, such as lung and heart disease.
  • Avoid consumption of alcoholic drinks.
    Alcohol contains high calories. If consumed in excess, a person is susceptible to various diseases that trigger stroke, such as diabetes and hypertension. Consumption of excessive alcoholic drinks can also make an irregular heartbeat.
  • Avoid using illegal drugs.
    Some types of illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, can cause narrowing of the arteries and reduce blood flow.
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