What is the STROKE?
The term stroke comes from Latin and means blow or attack, describing the abrupt and sudden nature of a process.
It is also known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA), stroke, or stroke. Is a cerebrovascular disease that affects the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.
When it occurs?
We can find different types of stroke, we detail them:
- Ischemic or embolic stroke. It occurs when a blood vessel that carries blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot.
- Hemorrhagic stroke. It happens due to the rupture of a blood vessel while it carries blood to the brain, causing blood to leak within it.
In both, by not receiving the necessary blood, oxygen and glucose, the nerve cells in the affected area die after a few minutes, causing permanent damage to the brain.
According to the World Health Organization, a risk factor is any trait, characteristic, or exposure of an individual that increases their likelihood of suffering an illness or injury. We can classify the risk factors into two groups:
Modifiable factors: are those in which we can intervene to avoid them, they can be:
- High blood pressure: more than 60% of people who have suffered a stroke are hypertensive, hence the control of blood pressure is considered the main preventive measure. This factor multiplies the risk of stroke by five and controlling it would prevent many deaths.
- Diabetes: people who have diabetes are at greater risk of suffering from cerebrovascular disease, so prevention of this disease is key. The reasons are that glucose can rise in the blood, damage blood vessels and accelerate atherosclerosis. Diabetes Study
- Hyperlipidemia: high cholesterol levels are another of the main risk factors for stroke. In our country, there is an increase in patients with high cholesterol. Cholesterol Study
- Smoking and other drugs: this factor increases the risk of stroke by 2 to 4 times.
- Alcohol consumption: excess alcohol can cause a stroke as a result of increasing blood pressure, increasing obesity, triglycerides or causing heart failure.
Non-modifiable factors: are those in which we cannot intervene to modify them, they can be:
- Age: After the age of 55, each lived decade doubles the risk of suffering a stroke. However, this does not mean that young people do not suffer from the problem.
- Gender: more or less the same amount of strokes occur in both sexes. However, more than half of the deaths are in women.
- Family background: the risk of suffering a stroke is higher if someone in the family has suffered it. Numerous studies have shown a genetic component in cases of hypertension, familial hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes.
- Having recently suffered a stroke: Once you have suffered a stroke the chances of suffering another increase considerably.
- Having carotid artery disease: The carotid arteries in the neck supply the heart with blood. A carotid that is damaged by atherosclerosis can block the blood vessel and lead to a blood clot.
- Have heart disease: a diseased heart increases the risk of stroke. In fact, people with heart problems are twice as likely to have this problem. Cardiovascular Risk Study
We can find two types of stroke depending on the evolution:
Established stroke: sudden onset and rapid development, causes brain injury in minutes.
Evolving stroke: it is less frequent; in this case, the patient worsens over the hours, even for a day or two, as an increasing area of brain tissue becomes necrotic.
Sometimes the progression is interrupted, giving way to stable periods (coinciding with the paralysis of the expansion of the necrotic tissue) where some improvement is observed.
The patient can present in both cases:
- Muscular weakness. You feel weak and weak in one arm or leg.
- Sudden loss of vision.
- Hearing, smell, taste problems.
- Suddenly, memory fails.
- Difficulty speaking
- Problems of coordination.
- Loss of consciousness temporary.
- Un sudden headache
Some ways have been developed to know when a person is going to have a stroke. Among them is, for example, the Cincinnati scale, which consists of three checks:
- Facial asymmetry: the patient is instructed to smile to check that both sides of the face move symmetrically. In abnormal case, one of the sides would show difficulty in moving.
- Strength in the arms: the patient is instructed to stretch their arms for 10 seconds. In abnormal cases, one of the arms does not move or falls relative to the other.
- Language: the patient is prompted to speak. In abnormal case, slurred words, has trouble speaking or does not speak.
If any of these three checks gives the abnormal result, it is possible that the patient will suffer a stroke.
El doctor is the one who must diagnose a stroke. It usually does it in the following way:
- According to the information given by the patient or the companion.
- By physical examination, it helps determine where the brain injury is located.
- A computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be done to confirm the diagnosis, although these tests detect stroke after several days.
- Your doctor may perform an angiogram if surgery is planned.
Treatment of STROKE
The treatment is different if the stroke is due to a blocked artery or because of a ruptured blood vessel. It is the doctor who must determine it, although the Quick action by the person accompanying the patient can save his life.