A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, either by a blockage or a bleed. There are two main types of stroke:
- Ischemic stroke: this is the most common type of stroke and occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot.
- Hemorrhagic stroke: this type of stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds.
Causes of a stroke can include:
- High blood pressure
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Heart disease, such as atrial fibrillation
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Symptoms of a stroke can include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Vision problems in one or both eyes
- Dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
Diagnosis of a stroke involves a physical examination, an evaluation of medical history and neurological examination, CT scan or MRI of the brain, blood test and other tests to determine the cause.
Treatment for a stroke will depend on the type of stroke and the cause. Some common treatments include:
- Medications to dissolve blood clots or stop bleeding
- Surgery to remove a clot or repair a ruptured blood vessel
- Rehabilitation to help with recovery and regain strength and function
- Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise to reduce the risk of future stroke.
It is important to note that a stroke is a medical emergency, and immediate treatment is crucial to minimize brain damage and long-term disability. If you suspect someone is experiencing a stroke, call emergency services right away.
To learn more about stroke please click on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke/
Dr Ibrahim Yahli MD MRCPsych