Strokes and More About Strokes

Information passed on by Megan Cline

The Basics you Need to Know About Strokes

A stroke is due to a blockage of a blood vessel that supplies the the brain. The brain is the most important control center in our body, and if it does not get the ample amount of oxygen needed the tissue can become necrotic. In general our population knows at least something about strokes due to it's high prevelancy in America. Having roughly 700,000 it is the leading cause of neurological disabilities, the half who don't have determintal effects are most likely dead. Typically speaking you mainly hear about the elderly getting strokes, however this is not a limitation, it can strike anyone at anytime. Unfortunately if you are African American you are at an elevated risk, along with anyone suffering from previous transient ischemic attacks. A TIA in itself is the first and least damageing classification of strokes. This is only a temporary blockage of blood flow in the small distal branches of the brains artial tree. Though this attack siezes in about 12-24 hours the chances of another stroke increase tremendously. Typically after one has a TIA if not treated it can then turn into a more severe category of stroke, either as a progressive or a completed stroke. Progressive strokes begins only with only a little neurological damage but worsens over the coarse of a couple days. The worst classification of strokes is a completed one which cause the most damage to the brain activity and neurological function. As much damage strokes have on society, families, and hospitals they are somewhat preventible. If a person keeps up their blood pressure, has a low stress enviorment, eats right, and does anything they can to benefit the human body your chances of having a stroke diminish quiet significantly. However if you may be one of the unlucky ones who are plaged with this it is important to regognize the early warning signs, call 911 and give an aspirin.

What to Look for as a Warning

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The Hard Evidence

These tests are great in providing information while the disaster is occuring, or to diagnose the extent of the damage after the stroke has happened. Sadly there are no diagnostic tests that would be helpful in the prevention, for strokes occur rapidly.

  • Cerebral Angiography- maps out the interuption or displacement of the circulation on the brain.
  • Digital Subraction Angiography- uses a radioactive die in order to identify any abnormalities in the blood vessels in the head an neck area.
  • CT- a test that detects the structural abnormalities, swelling, and any cuts or bruises. Useful in differing strokes from other disorders including primary metastatic tumor and subdural, intracerebral, an epidural hematoma. However if the pt is only having a TIA it will not be picked up on.
  • PET- provides information brain activity and difference in blood flow changes, best on identifying ischemic strokes.
  • Single-Photon Emission Tomography- identifies brain blood flow to correctly diagnose a cerebral infarction.
  • MRI- is specific to determining the location and size of the lesion. Yet it does not distuinguish a brain bleed, tumor, or an infarction as well as a CT does, it has much better imaging of the cerebellum and brainstem.
  • Transcranial Doppler- which establishes the speed and volume trough the vessels in side the skull, which guce the diameter of vessel to identify and anomly.

Steps That Might be Taken by Your Physcians for Your Best Interest

The treatment for strokes are variable dependent. Based on the severity, they type, and the location on or in the brain where the stroke happened. If you only had a TIA then your treatment would include a now regular implement of aspirin and/or anticoagulant drugs, inorder to prevent another occurance. The damage to the brain caused by a stroke is typically irreversible, escpically if it has caused necrosis of the cells. Therefore treatment for strokes are about rehabilitation of how to live with the whatever deficits may have came out of it. A patient would also be put on a new diet that would have lowercholesterol and low sodium to help prevent another stroke.

The drugs that coutld be implemented-

  • Thrombolytic Therapy- which are drugs that would breakdown or destroy clots. The most common is a recombinant tissue plasminogen activator. This drug would be given inside the first 3 hours of an Ischemic stroke inorder to unblock to the clot, restoring blood flow and preventing further brain damage.
  • Anticonvulsants- given to prevent siezures
  • Stool Softeners- given to relieve some stress intracranialky by avoiding straining during bowel movevements.
  • Corticosteroids- which are helpful in minimizing swelling on the brain
  • Analgesics- are a drug classification in order to helpful with the headaches which might follow a brainbleed

If the extent of the stroke is to excessive for the medication help, surgery may be used as altenative. Any and all treatment is revoloved around restoring blood flow. Some of the surgies that classify as this would be:

  • Craniotomy- to remove a hematoma(tumor of blood)
  • Endarterectomy- remove atherosclerotic plaque (hardened gunk inside) from inner artial walls
  • Extracranial-Intracranial Bypass- which is a surgery that would reroute the blood flow of the brain avoiding the damaged area
  • Ventricular Shunts - are placed to drain any fluid that may be resting on the brain.

How Must a Stroke Occur

  1. Thrombosis

-This is a medical condition meaning to clot. It is the most common type of stroke in middle aged and elderly. It is a result from a blockage in any of vessels on or in the brain. Your chances of developing a clot here increase if you have hypertension, if your obese, smoking, use of hormonal contraceptives, and if you undergo surgery.

2. Embolism

-The second to most common cause of a stroke. This happens when a buildup of plaque or materials break off from where they were travel in the circulatory system to the brain and cut off the vessel resulting in a stroke. You are more at risk for this occurrence if you have a history of rheumatic heart disease and basically any underlying heart condition. Embolism happen rapidly and with no warning usually within 10-20 seconds and stop in the left middle cerebral artery.

3. Hemorrhage

-This is a stroke based on bleeding. If a stroke was a result of energy to the head it would most likely be this one. However it can also arise from an aneurysm or chronic hypertension, which would cause a cerebral artery to rupture. An avid user of cocaine is most likely to suffer from this kind of stroke due to their self inflicting chronic hypertension from their use.

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How the Stroke Came to Be

Over 2,400 years ago Hippocrates the father of medicine discovered the stroke. Was refereed to as an "apoplexy" which translates from greek to say struck down by violence. If wasn't till the mid 1600's when a physician named Jacob Wepfer discovered patients who died with this had bleeding in their brain caused by a blockage.

What Is Next for Stroke Victims?

Currently through the controversy of Stem Cells they are looking at how they can involve these little unspecified cells to help them out. It is knows that strokes cause death to brain cells, so researchers are trying to find a way to use stem cells to make new brain cells. The research right now is being conducted in Britain where a physician by the name of Dr. Madina Kara has done a study with the stem cell CD34+ on a handful of patients all of which are now showing improvements. Since the study is going well they are going to continue to move forward with the trial. Hopefully creating a new full-proof treatment.
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Mary Kay Ash

This women started a cosmetics company in 1963 with only 5,00 dollars. This is a household name representing Mart Kay, Inc. She suffered her stroke in 196 which ended her career.