Stroke - The Signs and Symptoms
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a medical condition that happens when blood flow to the brain is affected, either by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or by bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). This can cause brain cell death, resulting in a variety of symptoms. Read on for its signs and symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of a stroke
A stroke can cause the following signs and symptoms:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, usually on one side of the body
- Slurred speech or understanding speech all of a sudden
- Vision loss or double vision in one or both eyes that occurs suddenly
- Sudden acute headache with no recognised cause
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, or loss of balance or coordination.
If you notice any of these symptoms, get medical attention immediately. Early treatment can help reduce the damage caused by a stroke hence a regular health check is important.
What causes a stroke?
A stroke can be caused by either a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or brain bleed (hemorrhagic stroke).
- Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot forms in an artery supplying blood to the brain, obstructing blood flow. A blood clot might form in another region of the body and move to the brain, or it can form in the brain’s blood arteries.
- Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood artery in the brain bursts and bleeds into the surrounding tissue. This can harm brain cells and interfere with normal brain function.
These group of people also have a higher risk for stroke. These risk factors include:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- family history of stroke
- atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
- have a history of mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks)
Strokes can have serious and long-term consequences for a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and quick medical attention is critical for reducing the damage.
If you fall into any of the high-risk categories above, make sure to have your health examined on a regular basis.
Treatments for stroke
Depending on the type of stroke and the severity of the symptoms, treatment options for stroke may include blood clot-dissolving drugs, surgery to remove a clot or repair a damaged blood vessel, and rehabilitation to help to regain strength and independence.
Do cardiologists treat stroke?
It is important for cardiologists to be involved in all aspects of stroke care, from primary prevention to diagnosis and treatment, to the monitoring of acute and chronic complications. Follow up diagnostic assessments, risk factor management, and long-term secondary prevention also requires the expertise of a cardiologist.
How can we prevent stroke?
Stroke prevention is critical for lowering the risk of permanent damage and death. Simple lifestyle changes can greatly lower the risk of stroke, including keeping a good diet and exercise regimen, stopping smoking, managing high blood pressure, and other medical conditions.
Stroke poses a significant risk to one’s health, however with effective treatment and prevention, many people can recover and live full, active lives. You can minimise your risk of stroke and improve your overall well-being by making these lifestyle changes. Schedule an appointment with your cardiologist to manage your health.