Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Strokes can be deadly. Let's look at the facts


Around 85% of all strokes are due to a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain.

This is called an Ischaemic Stroke.

Causes

A blockage can be caused by a blood clot forming in an artery leading to the brain, or within one of the small vessels deep inside the brain.  Blockages in the brain can also be caused by a clot moving through the blood stream from another part of the body.

There are several reasons why blockages can form and cause an ischaemic stroke.

These include:

Atherosclerosis, which occurs when fatty deposits build up on the inside walls of your arteries. They cause your arteries to become harder and narrower, making them more likely to become blocked. Sometimes, a blood clot forms on the fatty deposit. If this clot breaks away it can travel to the brain and cause a stroke.

Small vessel disease, which is when the tiny blood vessels deep within your brain are damaged.

Atrial fibrillation and other heart conditions, which can cause blood clots to form in your heart, which can then move through your blood stream up into your brain.

Arterial dissection, which occurs when tears develop in the lining of an artery and allow blood to get between the layers of your artery walls. This can happen for no clear reason or it can happen because of an injury to the neck.

Symptoms of a stroke.

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST:

Face:               The face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms:             The person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm.

Speech:          Their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you're saying to them.

Time:             It's time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms


Treatment

If your ischaemic stroke is caused by a blood clot, you may be given a clot-busting treatment known as Thrombolysis.

Thrombolysis can break down and disperse a clot that is preventing blood from reaching your brain. However, for it to have the best effect, it needs to be given within four and a half hours of your stroke symptoms starting.

Thrombectomy is a treatment that removes the clot with a mechanical device. Only a small proportion of strokes are eligible for Thrombectomy, but it can have a big impact on reducing disability after a stroke.

Most people who have an ischaemic stroke will be given anti-platelet medication, which helps to prevent blood clots from forming.

After a stroke you will be checked for health conditions linked to stroke, such as atrial fibrillation, diabetes and high cholesterol. If you have any of these conditions you will be given treatment and advice. This is important to help reduce the chance of having another stroke.

 

Recovering from a stroke

People who survive a stroke are often left with long-term problems caused by injury to their brain.

Some people need a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover their former independence, while many never fully recover and need ongoing support after their stroke.

Local authorities should provide free reablement services for anyone assessed as needing them.

These services help the person recovering from a stroke learn or relearn the skills they need to live at home independently.

Some people will continue to need some form of care or help with their daily activities.

For example, a care worker may come to the person's home to help with washing and dressing, or to provide companionship

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