A stroke or brain attack is a condition in which brain cells die suddenly resulting in sudden focal neurological deficits such as arm or leg weakness, facial disorientation, speech problems, nausea or fainting. The lack of oxygen is due to blockage of blood flow to a particular part of the brain or rupture of an artery feeding the brain, said Dr Puneet Agarwal, chief director of neurology at Max Superspeciality Hospital.
Within minutes of a stroke, brain cells begin to die, manifesting as focal neurological deficits, says Dr Puneet Aggarwal. Symptoms should be recognized early, as prompt treatment is crucial to recovery. Dr. Aggarwal lists common symptoms that include:
· Weakness or numbness, usually on one side of the body
· Facial asymmetry when smiling
Loss of balance and coordination
· Visual disturbances – blurring, field errors or double vision
· Severe headache, dizziness, or loss of consciousness.
Small strokes (or silent strokes), however, may cause no symptoms, but can still damage brain tissue, says Dr. Aggarwal. The World Health Organization (WHO) uses the following simplified nomenclature to diagnose stroke (brain attack).
· F – Facial weakness
· A – Weakness in arms or legs
· S – Speech problems
· T – Time (work fast to save your brain so it is called
Difference between stroke and transient ischemic attack
It is a warning sign of a stroke caused by a temporary blockage of blood flow to a part of the brain. Symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a stroke but are shorter in duration, usually less than an hour, and do not cause significant permanent damage. In a TIA, a brain MRI with a diffusion sequence will be normal, unlike in a stroke a brain MRI will show clots in the brain, Dr. Aggarwal noted.
Why is it important to rush to the hospital?
Dr. Aggarwal says that every minute after a stroke causes the death of neurons in the brain and it is important to remember, “time is the brain”. “If a patient arrives at the hospital within six hours of the onset of symptoms, an injection called TPA (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator) can be given through an intravenous or intraarterial catheter to the site of the blockage. Those who receive TPA show greater recovery over the next 3 months than those who do not receive it. Compared to them. There is a small risk of bleeding (about 3-6 percent) with this treatment. As time passes. The risk of bleeding increases and the benefit of tPA decreases, so it is not recommended for more than 6 hours. So recognize the symptoms early and as soon as possible. It is very important to reach the hospital as soon as possible,” added the doctor.
How can stroke be prevented?
A healthy diet, regular exercise, and regular medical check-ups (especially after age 40) are the pillars of stroke prevention for early detection and treatment of stroke risk factors. Stroke prevention is largely based on a healthy lifestyle. It includes:
Healthy diet – low fat, high fiber diet
· Exercising regularly – moderate aerobic fitness can reduce the risk of stroke.
· Avoid smoking and heavy drinking
· Regular medical check-ups – blood pressure, FBS, lipid profile, ECG, echocardiography
Treat diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia properly
Taking preventive medications like anti-platelet and anticoagulant as advised