World Stroke Day

Brain stroke is the occurrence of neurological deficits due to cerebrovascular cause (problem related to blood vessels of the brain). There are two types of stroke one of which is called Ischaemic stroke which occurs because of partial or total blockage of blood vessel by a blood clot resulting in decreased or total cessation of blood supply to a part of the brain. Brain cells(neurons) die as a result of this and with each minute of lack of blood supply about 1.7million cells die . The other type of stroke is called haemorrhagic stroke in which blood vessel ruptures leading to leaking of blood into the brain tissue. Ishaemic stroke are by far more common than haemorrhagic stroke (75%versus25%).

                              The common risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, increased blood cholesterol, cigarrette smoking, excessive alcohol intake and heart disease. The other  risk factors include old age,male sex,sedentary lifestyle and mental stress. Though stroke mostly occurs in older individuals there is a increasing trend of its occurrence in younger people mainly to stress,change in dietary habits  and hectic lifestyle.Some of these also have a family history of stroke at young age.

                              Stroke commonly manifests in the form of sudden onset of weakness of one half of the body,inability to speak or comprehend properly, slurring of speech, double vision or dimness of one half of vision, unsteadiness while walking. It can also manifest as severe headache and decrease in level of consciousness. Diagnosis is done by a brain scan most commonly CT scan and in some situations MRI may be necessary.

                              The most important thing to do when some body has a stroke is to rush to the hospital as early as possible since the only approved therapy for ischaemic stroke is intravenous administration of clost bursting drug rtPA(recombinant tissue plasminogen activator) in the first 4.5hrs after the onset of symptoms. Even in this period patients who receive earliar have better outcome than who receive latter. Beyond first few hours we can only give medication to prevent a second stroke by using blood thinners such as aspirin and clopidogrel. In some situation anticoagulants like warfarin may be necessary. The best thing to do is to prevent stokes from happening by adopting a healthy lifestyle including diet rich in fiber and low in cholesterol, regular exercise and medcation as required for risk factors like hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

Dr.Chenna Rajesh Reddy
MBBS,MD(internal Medicine),DM(Neurology)
Apollo Health City Hyderabad

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