Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death currently and like Heart attacks is a preventable disease. Factually, 80% of strokes are preventable. The good news is that now strokes can be reversed, just like Heart Attacks provided patients make it to the right hospital in good time
There are different types of strokes, but the most common kind is the one where the flow of blood to the brain is obstructed. If this is a significant blockage (quite like our pipes carrying water may have) the precious brain cells start dying /irreversible damage begins within 5 minutes of stroke onset.
Depending on the part of the body that is affected, it can cause an array of symptoms best remembered by the Mnemonic
F- Facial droop
S- Speech Difficulty
T-Time to call 911
These symptoms come on suddenly. Other potential symptoms include confusion, vision loss or double vision, leg weakness, vertigo, severe headaches
Effects of Stroke: this can lead to immediate paralysis, loss of vision, inability to speak, swallow, dizziness, abnormal sensation
Dr. Gupta will work you up for stroke, which means, find out what was the cause. This dictates the treatment that shall follow.
Do know that Dr. Gupta is NOT providing acute care that is at the same time of stroke onset, rather than that, once you are discharged from the hospital.
Common Modifiable Causes or risk factors include-
Hypertension (most common cause), Diabetes, Blockage of blood vessels supplying blood to the brain, Cigarette smoking, Heart rhythm disorders of which atrial fibrillation is the most common, heart disease like Congestive heart failure
Non-Modifiable causes include- Age, Gender, Inherited tendencies, prior stroke, race
Dr. Gupta recommends lifestyle interventions to prevent Stroke which include:
- Optimize treatment for modifiable risk factors as listed.
- Target Blood Pressure that patients should try and achieve after a Stroke is 120/80
- For diabetics HBA1C less than 7 (6.5) preferred
- Bad cholesterol (LDL) less than 70
Frequently suggested Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension [DASH] or Mediterranean diets are recommended, weight loss, and regular exercise are encouraged.
EDUCATION ABOUT ACUTE STROKE CARE & SUBSEQUENT TREATMENT
The only FDA approved treatment for Acute Stroke is Alteplase or r-tPA or tissue Plasminogen Activator. It is typically given in the Emergency Room and works by dissolving the clot and restoring blood flow. Many hospitals now have Primary Stroke Certification, which means that they qualify to provide r-tPA to a patient who arrives within a 3-hour window (Max 4.5 hours). Occasionally patients qualify for additional procedures to remove the blockage which is done in Larger hospitals with Tertiary stroke certification. This- in very simples terms would mean- Drano (r-tPA) was not enough to clear the water pipe and the blockage may have to be cleared by “ busting” it at site, retrieving the blockage or opening it with a “ stent” (simplest description is an umbrella held in place to keep the pipe open)
You are likely to be started on blood-thinning medication for future stroke prevention and if you are the right candidate, a statin which is a cholesterol-lowering drug. The combination is most effective with control of risk factors and a healthy lifestyle
DO NOT FORGET THAT IN THE EVENT OF A STROKE EARLIEST TREATMENT TRANSLATES TO LEAST BRAIN DAMAGE
For detailed information and Education please visit:
StrokeAssociation.org or Call 1.888.4.STROKE