A brain stroke is when the blood supply to our brain reduces due to blockage or hemorrhage. According to world-stroke.org, more than 13 million people have a stroke each year, and 5.5 million die. Most of them die due to delays in seeking medical attention.
What is a brain stroke?
A stroke usually happens when the blood supply to our brain is blocked or ruptured in the blood vessel supplying the brain. Due to this, our brain does not get the required amount of oxygen, and the tissues start suffocating, leading to their death within minutes. When patients with stroke are not provided treatment on time, it can lead to long-term disability, Brain damage, and death. There are three types of stroke:
- Transient Ischaemic attack
- Ischaemic stroke
- Hemorrhagic stroke
Transient Ischaemic attack
TIA or ministroke occurs when the blood supply to our heart is temporarily blocked. Though the symptoms are similar to a complete brain stroke, the effects are temporary as they last only a few minutes or hours. The blood flow in the blocked area restores by treatment.
Though a Transient Ischaemic attack is not as severe as a full stroke, it is better to seek treatment as there are chances of recurrence.
In Ischaemic stroke, patients develop a blockage or narrow arteries that supply blood to the brain. As a result, the blood reduces to the brain due to blood clots or reduced blood flow. Ischaemic stroke occurs due to the development of two blockages: cerebral embolism and cerebral thrombosis.
Cerebral embolism is when a blood clot forms in body parts except for the brain. As they move through the blood vessels, they become too narrow for the blood clots to pass. Cerebral thrombosis is when a blood clot forms at a fatty plaque inside a blood vessel.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs due to the opening or leaking of the blood vessels in the brain. It causes the cranial pressure to increase, swells the brain, and damages the brain cells and tissues. They are mainly of two types:
- Intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke
- Subarachnoid hemorrhagic stroke
Symptoms of stroke
Brain stroke is recognized when the body parts controlled by the damaged area start to become dysfunctional. If the patient fails to get treatment on time, they can die. Therefore, we must familiarize ourselves with the symptoms of a stroke. They are as follows:
- disorientation, or lack of responsiveness
- sudden behavioral changes
- Trouble seeing in either or both the eyes. The vision can be blackened or blurred, or double vision
- trouble walking
- loss of balance or coordination
- severe, sudden headache with an unknown cause
- nausea or vomiting
- trouble speaking or understanding others
- slurred speech
Advanced treatment for Ischemic stroke and TIA
Ischaemic stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIA) are due to a blood clot’s blockage of blood vessels. Thus, the treatment for both these conditions is quite similar.
Dissolving the blood clots is essential to treat the Ischaemia stroke or TIA as it can block the oxygen supply. Thrombolytic drugs help dissolve the blood clots in the brain’s blood vessels thus, ensuring proper blood flow. In addition, drugs such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) or Alteplase IV r-tPA help dissolve the blood clot.
Mechanical thrombectomy is successful when performed between 6 to 24 hours. In this procedure, a small catheter is inserted in the head that guides a tiny device. The basket-like little device enters the site of brain stroke, and the clot is collected, thus, opening the blood vessel and establishing normal blood flow.
Doctors sometimes use a catheter to insert a stent that directs the blood flow away from the site of aneurism. It reduces the pressure on it and prevents its rupturing. Most of the time, doctors guide the stent in the clot region and inflate it as it widens the lumen of the artery and supports the wall.
In rare cases, the techniques mentioned above do not work. In such cases, doctors perform surgery to remove the blood clot or plaque with the help of a catheter. If the clot is too large, it may open up the artery to re-establish the blood flow to the brain.
Advanced treatment for Hemorrhagic stroke
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs due to the opening or leaking of the blood vessel. Thus, the treatment options for this type of stroke are different.
In this technique, the doctors insert a coil-like device in the area of hemorrhage or weakened arteries. It lowers the blood supply to the region and reduces bleeding.
Sometimes, doctors find an aneurysm that is not bleeding or where the bleeding has stopped. In such situations, doctors place a clamp at the base of an aneurysm that cuts off the blood supply and prevents other hemorrhages.
If the patient has suffered a significant stroke, the doctor has to perform surgery to reduce the cranial pressure. It also applies to the situation when a doctor finds an aneurysm that has burst to prevent further bleeding.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the basics of brain stroke and advanced treatment that will save the life of your loved ones or even strangers.