|What is Stroke?
Stroke is the result of some parts of the brain losing control over the activity of some
parts of the body, resulting in temporary or permanent disability or paralysis.
|Can you explain how a Stroke occurs?
As one grows older the flow of blood to the brain declines gradually. Sometimes there is
an obstruction in the flow of blood. The brain draws its supply of oxygen and other
nutritional substances from the blood that flows into it. When there is an obstruction,
the brain is deprived of oxygen and other essential substances and loses its capacity
to function. For eg., if there is an obstruction in the flow of blood to the left half of
the brain, the right hand, the right leg and right side of the face maybe paralysed. The
speech centre is on the left side of the brain, so there will also be a loss of speech.
But, a person having a paralysis on the left side of the body will be able to speak.
|What are the causes of the obstruction of blood flow to the
Obstruction in the blood flow to the brain maybe caused by clogging of the blood vessels
due to fatty deposits or by a wandering blood clot that forms outside the brain and is
then carried to the brain in the blood stream. This clot may plug the blood vessels.
A weak point in a blood vessel or high blood pressure may cause a rupture of a blood
vessel in the brain, resulting in Stroke.
|What are the factors pre-disposing to Stroke?
|What is Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)?
Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) can be explained as a mini-stroke caused by a
temporary loss of blood supply to the brain. It may last from a few seconds upto 24 hrs
with complete recovery. It actually serves as a warning sign of stroke.
|Should a Patient take Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) seriously?
People tend to brush off the symtoms of Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) as they are
temporary and sometimes vague and confusing. But, they should consult a physician
immediately whenever they have any of the following:
- Sudden blindness or dimming of vision in one or both eyes.
- Weakness or numbness in an arm, leg or facial muscles.
- Difficulty in speaking
- Mental confusion or epileptic fit
- Dizziness or fainting
- Loss of balance
|What is the result of a Stroke?
The neurological damage due to a stroke reaches its peak within a few hours and
there maybe varying features from minimal, to maximal and prolonged disability.
The following complications could arise and may need continued medical care:
- Reduced blood supply to the brain may result in confusion and speech disturbances.
- Urinary incontinence & urinary infection
- Aspiration of food into the respiratory tract resulting in secondary infection of the
- Residual paralysis resulting in contractures and pain.
- Clot (Thrombus) formation in the veins of the lower limbs due to restricted mobility.
This may cause blood flow obstruction and severe pain. The clot could also disengage and
- Pressure sores due to lying in the same posture continuously. This could cause infection
which may enter the blood stream. (Septicaemia)
- A bed-ridden patient with speech disability maynot be given the required fluids or diet
resulting in dehydration or nutritional deficiency.
- Bed-ridden patients may develop constipation.
- Falls, usually to the affected side.
- Osteoporosis or reduction in the mineral content of the bone.
|How are patients with Stroke treated and managed?
The Physician will treat the patient with drugs to arrest brain damage, improve the
circulation to the affected areas and prevent any further damage.
Pre-disposing factors such as diabetes and hypertension should be treated.
Nutritious food and adequate fluids should be given.
Physiotherapy should be given to prevent stiffness and help in speedy recovery.
The close attention of loved ones may go a long way in the recovery of a person with a
|How can we prevent Stroke?
- Control Blood pressure. High B.P. promotes clogging of arteries and
rupture of blood vessels.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor in stroke and speeds up
clogging of arteries. Nicotine can raise B.P.
- Avoid fatty foods and high cholestrol.
- Avoid excessive alchohol. Heavy drinking increases the chance of stroke
by three times.
- Reduce salt intake.
- Avoid obesity
- Exercise regularly after a completer medical check-up and with the
advice of your physician.
- Avoid excessive stress. Learn relaxation techniques.
- Stroke is preventable.