Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) / Stroke
Cerebrovascular Accident or stroke is a medical emergency occurs when blood flow to any part of your brain is interrupted or reduced depriving oxygen and nutrients to brain tissue leading to the death of brain cells. The brain damage is analysed based on the location and intensity of the stroke. For example, a person with a minor stroke might have temporary weakness of an arm or leg, in case of major strokes, it may paralyze one side of the body of the affected person or a person might lose ability to speak or any of the senses.
Strokes can occur to anyone at any point of time but they are treatable under the supervision of specialised doctors like neurosurgeon or neurologist. There are few people who recovers completely from the strokes but mostly 2/3rd of the survivors develop some kind of disability.
There are various tools to determine whether you have had a stroke or not. A full physical examination is conducted to check your reflexes, vision, speech, senses, strength and blood pressure in case if you have had a stroke. Healthcare providers also look for a particular kind of sound in your blood vessels known as bruit, which helps in identifying any abnormal blood flow.
Prompt treatment is very crucial to treat strokes at the right time. One should pay attention to following signs and symptoms and can help themselves and others to avoid strokes :
- Sudden Loss of balance or co-ordination due to dizziness
- Severe headache along with vomiting or altered consciousness
- Blurred, blackened or double image vision
- Trouble with speech and unable to comprehend
- Sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis in your face, arms or leg
The treatment of stroke depends on the type of stroke. The types of stroke are:
HEMORRHAGIC STROKE TREATMENT
Hemorrhagic Stroke or brain haemorrhages occurs when a blood vessel in your brain ruptures or leaks due to hypertension (uncontrolled blood pressure), blood thinners or weak spots in blood vessel walls (aneurysms). The goal of Hemorrhagic stroke treatment is to control the bleeding. A drug that lowers the pressure in your brain caused by the bleeding is given to patient to treat such kind of stroke. In case of severe bleeding, doctors might go for a surgery to remove excess blood and to repair the ruptured blood vessel.
ISCHEMIC STROKE TREATMENT
This is most common cause of the stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when the arteries to the brain become narrowed or blocked leading to reduced blood flow in the brain. The goal of this treatment is to restore the blood flow. A clot dissolving drug or blood thinner is given to treat ischemic stroke. Sometimes removing a blockage through percutaneous catheter is taken into consideration, done by a specialist neurosurgeon or interventional radiologist.
In some cases, certain people experience a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain. Such condition is known as Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) which doesn't cause permanent damage but requires medical treatment and need to be investigated fully.
A healthy lifestyle and doctor's recommendation is a best step to lower down the risk of stroke.
Stroke & COVID-19 FAQ
Question 1: How common are neurologic conditions among COVID-19 patients? Answer: A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last week found! 36% of 214 Chinese patients with Covid-19 infection had neurological symptoms ranging from loss of smell and nerve pain, to seizures and strokes.
Question 2: Do Stroke survivors have increased risk of COVID-19? Answer: Stroke survivors are at greater risk of getting complications like pneumonia. Stroke survivors are advised to stay at home as much as possible & follow the specific advice about their health condition.
Question 3: What Does COVID-19 mean to stroke patients? Answer: The data suggest that people who have had a stroke, are at higher risk of complications if they are infected with COVID-19.
Question 4: Is there an increased risk of re-occurrence of Stroke in patients affected with Corona virus infection ? Answer: Yes, there is an increased risk of recurrence of stroke. Therefore, it\s important for stroke survivors to regularly take their medicines, take advice of their doctor, follow the latest advice on staying home and maintaining social distancing norms.
Question 5: Which all precautions Stroke survivors must take, if they develop COVID -19 symptoms?
Answer: The main symptoms of coronavirus (CON/ID-19) are:
Question 6: How Stroke patients should protect themselves from exposure to the virus?
Question 7: What advice stroke patient should follow pertaining to medications? If they need to take blood test or attend a checkup, how should they do that? Answer: It is essential to keep taking your stroke medications, especially medications that control risk factors like blood pressure or diabetes, because the risk for stroke increases if you stop taking medications. When it comes to medications that require blood checks, such as Coumadin or Warfarin, talk to your doctor about the frequency with which you need to have your blood drawn so that you can maintain the appropriate IN R levels.
MBBS, MS, M.Ch (Neurosurgery)