Brain strokes have been the leading cause of sudden deaths and disabilities like paralysis in India. A report by Statista conveys that approximately 1.4 million people suffered from cerebral strokes till now in the year 2020 in India.
What is brain stroke?
Brain stroke tends to occur whenever any part of the brain loses its blood supply causing hindrance in the cell functioning of that body part. Due to the deprivation of blood and oxygen, the cells start dying and lead to a brain attack.
Also known as a cerebrovascular accident, brain stroke occurs either due to blockage of blood flow or due to bleeding in the brain. The strokes require emergency hand-on care and a conclusive prognosis process for optimal treatment.
Types of brain strokes
Whenever a patient suffers from brain stroke, the foremost step of an appropriate treatment is to find out the type of stroke.
Such brain strokes occur due to the presence of an obstruction in the blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain. Most common of all the strokes, ischemic stroke mainly occurs due to the development of fatty tissues lining along with the blood, and the condition is known as atherosclerosis.
When a piece of this fatty tissue breaks free, it results in the occurrence of two events that are:
- Cerebral embolism: In this condition, a blood clot that forms in another part of the body travels to the brain’s blood vessels and fails to pass through.
- Cerebral thrombosis: When a blood clot develops in the blood vessels resulting in its clogging, we refer to it as the cerebral thrombosis condition.
The stroke that occurs due to a weakened blood vessel ruptures, causing excessive bleeding in the brain, refers to a hemorrhagic stroke. Accumulation of the blood causes compression of the brain tissue. Such strokes are the second most prevalent type of all the tumors.
Talking about the weakened blood vessels, two types can cause stroke, namely:
- Aneurysm: It refers to the condition of weakened muscle that swells and deteriorates until it ruptures.
- Arteriovenous malformation: Those regions of blood vessels that form abnormally and tend to rupture cause bleeding in the brain fall in this category.
Transient Ischemic stroke
Referred to as a mini-stroke, the transient ischemic stroke is more of a sign that, in the future, the patient may have full-blown stroke-causing serious complications that could be fatal. This stroke tends to occur due to a clot that enters the brain. Since it is a mini-stroke, patients suffer no brain damage as it lasts for a few minutes with the short-life symptoms.
Root causes of brain strokes
The root causes of having a brain stroke depend on the type of stroke. It’s either due to bursting of a blood vessel or blockage in the blood vessel or presence of a clot.
However, certain factors may lead to the root causes like:
- High blood pressure: The most common cause that can lead to bursting of vessels is high blood pressure also referred to as hypertension by doctors. If your blood pressure readings are 140/90 or above, it’s high time to visit the doctor before it becomes life-threatening.
- Diabetes: Diabetic patients often suffer from the problem of high blood pressure and being overweight. Both of these can substantially raise the chances of having a brain stroke. Untreated diabetes can damage your blood vessels, and more considerable brain damage is seen in patients who suffer from stroke and have high levels of sugar.
- Smoking: Chewing and smoking of tobacco increase your odds of having a brain stroke. Cigarette smoking leads to the formation of fatty buildup and high blood pressure resulting in thickening of the blood and ultimately causing a clot.
- Age: Brain stroke is often considered an age-independent problem. It can occur in babies and the elderly both. Yet, with the weakening blood vessels, the older people tend to have increased chances of having a brain stroke.
- Heart disease: A condition of heart like defective heart valves, atrial fibrillation, and irregular heartbeat can cause brain stroke, especially in older people.
Treatment of brain stroke
After a conclusive prognosis of the patient, the doctors perform a suitable treatment depending on the type of the stroke.
Ischemic and Transient Ischemic stroke
As mentioned earlier, these strokes occur because of a blood clot or blockage in the blood vessel. To curb the stroke, the following are the optimal treatments:
- Antiplatelets and anticoagulants: Since platelets are the cells that form a clot in the blood vessels, doctors recommend antiplatelets and anticoagulants as the first line of defence against the stroke damage. It should be taken within 24 to 48 hours after the stroke symptoms strike.
- Clot breaking drugs: Thrombolytic drugs help break up the clots present in the brain arteries, ultimately stopping the stroke and reducing the brain damage. The patient must intake these drugs within 3 to 4 hours after the symptoms of the stroke begin to dissolve the clots.
- Mechanical thrombectomy: In this treatment, the doctor inserts a catheter in the large blood vessel to pull out the clot. It has observed that surgery is the most successful if performed within 6 to 24 hours after the stroke begins.
- Stent: If your doctor gets successful in finding the exact weakened artery, then inserting a stent in the artery can help in its inflammation and support its walls allowing proper blood flow.
- Surgery: Surgeries may appear complicated, but they are proven to be the best treatment for removing the entire blockage from the artery either using the catheter or wide opening the artery.
Treatments for the strokes caused due to bleeding and leaking in the brains are:
- Medications: The medications prescribed aim to form a blood clot and prevent blood from leaking. They help in thickening the blood and also help in lowering your blood pressure reducing the risk of stroke.
- Coiling: In this procedure, the doctor inserts a coil-like device in the part where the artery wall is weak by guiding a long tube to that part. This results in reducing the blood flow.
- Surgery: Doctors prescribe surgery to clip the aneurysm to avoid its burst out and prevent excessive bleeding.
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