What is a stroke? What are the symptoms and treatment methods?

By | 12 May 2021

Stroke is a BRAIN CRISIS in which vital blood and oxygen flow to the brain is suddenly interrupted or reduced. The cells in the area where the blood flow is interrupted begin to die quickly, and the functions carried out in the area where the stroke occurs, temporary or permanent losses occur.

Types of stroke

Ischemic Stroke: Occurs when veins become blocked by blood clots or plaques and fat deposits over time. 85% of all strokes are ischemic strokes.

Bleeding Stroke: Occurs when blood leaks from a blood vessel in the brain to the brain. Its incidence is much less than ischemic stroke. However, it is responsible for 30% of deaths as a result of a stroke.

Stroke symptoms

  • Sudden numbness and weakness in the arm or leg, especially on only one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking, and understanding.
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden and severe headache of unknown cause
  • Sudden difficulty in walking, dizziness, loss of balance and coordination

Risk factors that cause stroke

Medical Risk factors

High blood pressure, Diabetes (Diabetes), High cholesterol level, Heart rhythm disorder are known as Atrial Fibrillation.

Lifestyle Risk Factors

Smoking, sedentary lifestyle, excess weight, wrong eating habits.

Unchanged Risk Factors

Age; 75% of the patients who have a stroke are around the age of 60. After the age of 60, it doubles every 10 years.
Gender; It is more common in men over the age of 55 than in women. As the age progresses, the rate of stroke increases in women.
The risk of a new stroke after a previous ischemic stroke and a transient stroke is extremely high.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are the most important risk factors for stroke. Approximately half of the Turkish population carry at least one of these three risk factors.

Emergency treatment of stroke

Stroke treatment should be done as soon as possible. When the cerebral vessel is blocked, damage begins to occur in the brain tissue. This damage gets wider as you wait. Brain damage increases when the occluded vein is large and the time is prolonged. Opening the vein as soon as possible prevents all of these and the expansion of the damage in the brain tissue. The more we can limit the damage to the brain tissue caused by stroke, the sooner and faster we can achieve recovery. Therefore, when it comes to stroke, fast treatment means early and rapid recovery.

Intravenous clot-dissolving drug therapy (Thrombolysis)

It is an intravenous clot-dissolving drug application that can be performed within 4.5 hours at the latest after the onset of stroke symptoms. Ideally, it should be done as soon as possible. This treatment dissolves the clot and helps the blood flow to recover quickly and effectively, thereby improving the stroke.

If the patient’s condition is not suitable for the application of this treatment, or if the time elapsed since the onset of the stroke is prolonged, intravenous coagulant therapy cannot be applied. Your doctor will use other drugs and methods in treatment.

Angiographic clot removal treatment (Thrombectomy)

If the main vessels feeding the brain are clogged with clots, the clot-dissolving drug administered via the vein, that is, intravenous thrombolysis treatment is not sufficient to dissolve the clot mass in these large vessels. In this case, the main purpose of the treatment is to find the cerebral vessel with angio method and to remove the clot with special devices. “Angiographic clot removal treatment” applied in the first 6 hours is so beneficial that 1 out of 3 treated patients completely return to their old life.
One of these two treatments is not used as an alternative to the other. On the contrary, they are used to complement each other and to increase success.

Preventing a new stroke that may recur

After emergency stroke treatment, it is very important to carry out all the necessary investigations for the cause of the stroke that the patient has had and to apply the appropriate treatment to the cause in preventing recurrence.

Drug treatments for the source of the clot

Antithrombotic drugs are drugs that prevent the formation of clots in the brain vessels that can cause stroke and prevent the growth of blood clots that form. There are two different drug subgroups in this drug group.

Antiplatelet drugs: These are drugs that prevent the formation of clots on uneven surfaces that cause strictures, which are called plaques in the arteries. Aspirin is a drug that belongs to this group.

Anticoagulant drugs: These are drugs that prevent the formation of clots in the blood vessels, the growth of the formed clot, and its interruption into the circulation (embolism). It is especially used in heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, to prevent clots that may occur due to blood pooling in the chambers of the heart due to the disruption of the contraction pattern of the heart.

Surgical treatment

Carotid Endarterectomy Treatment
Carotid arteries are vessels on both sides of the neck that provide blood flow to the brain. (Also known as a carotid artery) It is a treatment method in which the carotid artery is reached through an incision made from the front of the neck when there is stenosis or occlusion in these vessels and the plaques that cause narrowing in this vessel are removed from the vessel wall.

Interventional treatments

By entering from the groin with a special catheter, it is advanced to the area where it is narrowed due to plaque in the brain. When the narrow part of the vein is reached, the balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated, opening the narrowed part of the vein and expanding the diameter of the vein. Thus, there will be an improvement in the blood flow to the brain.

With a special catheter inserted through the groin, the area of ​​the brain vessel narrowed due to plaque is reached. If necessary, the balloon on the catheter is inflated and the narrow part is expanded. Then, a stent (mini cage made of openable steel) is placed in the narrow area in the vein to expand the narrow section in the vein. Improving the blood flow to the brain is provided.


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