A stroke, which is also called a “brain attack” is a severe medical which occurs in the brain due to the cut off of the blood supply to the brain. As a result, the brain cells would be deprived of oxygen and glucose, that is essential for the body's survival. Hence, if the stroke is not treated immediately, the brain cells can rapidly begin to die, hence leading to permanent brain damage or death.
The first signs of stroke occur suddenly and soon after the stroke is suffered. The type of symptoms of stroke that surface are highly subject to the area of the brain which is affected. The right side area of the brain is responsible for controlling the function of the left side and vice versa. Thus, due to lack of blood supply to one side of the brain due to the stroke, can result in signs and symptoms on the opposite side. The early symptoms of stroke include:
• A severe headache
• Impairment or loss of vision
• Memory loss
• Loss of balance or coordination
• Poor balance and dizziness
• Sudden numbness or inability to move parts of the face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side of the body
• Slurred or abnormal speech
• Loss of consciousness
The signs and symptoms of stroke vary with the severity. The symptoms of a mild stroke may not be as hard as the ones for a severe stroke.
However, the acronym F.A.S.T. is often a very good way to remember the signs of stroke which can help identify the early symptoms.
• Face Drooping: Check if smile of the person drops on one side
• Arm Weakness: Check if the arm drifts downwards while you lift both your arms.
• Speech Difficulty: Check if the speech is slurred while you try to speak
• Time to call Ambulance: If all of the above-mentioned symptoms are faced, rush to the hospital or call an ambulance immediately.
Different types of Stroke have different causes of stroke. With that, several risks factors are responsible to increase the chances of getting a stroke. Early detection and effective management of controllable stroke risk factors can greatly reduce the possibility of stroke. They are:
• being overweight
• being aged 55 years or older
• a personal or family history of stroke
• an inactive lifestyle
• a tendency to drink heavily, smoke, or use illicit drugs
• high blood pressure
• high cholesterol
There are mainly three types of stroke:
• Ischemic stroke: This is the most common type of stroke. The oxygen is not able to reach the brain due to the formation of a blood clot.
• Hemorrhagic stroke: This type of stroke is caused to rupturing of a weakened blood vessel which normally a result of aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
• Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs): This type of stroke is also called a mini-stroke which occurs as a result of blood supply cut off from a part of the brain. However, normal blood circulation resumes after a short amount of time and symptoms stop to show up.
A stroke that is caused due to the restriction of the blood flow to the brain due to the presence of a blood clot or burst artery should be immediately treated. Any interference with the brain functioning might impede the functioning of the entire nervous system, which can also lead to death. Here are the 3 main Brain Stroke surgeries carried out to treat the stroke and retain the blood flow to the brain.
1. Hemi-craniectomy: This type of brain stroke surgery is most commonly used to treat swelling in the brain after the occurrence of both ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. Due to the high swelling in the brain after stroke, a pressure mounts over the brain, known as intracranial pressure which can damage the brain and even lead to death.In Hemi-craniectomy, a section of skull, half or more, is removed to give the swollen brain some more room so that it doesn't have to bear the harmful intracranial pressure. This procedure is therefore, known to alleviate the pressure. After the swelling is subsided, the skull is put back in place and stitched.
2. Mechanical Embolectomy: This type of brain stroke surgery is used to treat ischemic stroke, caused due to the formation of a blood clot in the brain. During mechanical embolectomy, the doctor uses a tiny wire like instrument called “stent” to remove the blood clot.
The stent is inserted into an artery of the leg through a catheter. Thus, when the catheter is removed, the stent and the clot are also removed along with it.
3. Aneurysm Treatments: These stroke surgeries are used to treat hemorrhagic stroke. An aneurysm is a weak but bulging part present on the boundary of an artery. When an aneurysm in the brain is ruptured due to several causes like high blood pressure, it results in a hemorrhagic stroke which causes internal bleeding in the brain.
There are two ways to treat an aneurysm:
• Aneurysm Clipping: During an aneurysm clipping, the surgeon uses a tiny metal clip to isolate the aneurysm from intervening with your normal blood circulation. The clip is inserted during craniotomy, a type of surgery to cut a bony opening in the skull so that brain can be directly operated on. However, this surgery makes it highly invasive.
• Aneurysm Coiling: An aneurysm can also be treated via aneurysm coil embolization where the doctors inserts tiny metal coils into the aneurysm bulge to separate it from the normal blood circulation.
After your brain stroke surgery, it is highly required for you to take special care of yourself through several measures and programs prescribed by your surgeon. The area of your brain that was operated during the brain stroke surgery will decide the kind of side-effects and complications you may face after the surgery. In any case, the patient may highly suffer from physical, mental, and emotional deficits because of the stroke, hence the doctor highly recommends the stroke survivors to enrol in a stroke rehabilitation program which is a rigorous therapy program. The doctor along with an entire team of physical, recreational, speech therapists, nurses and dieticians work hard with you to make your recovery easy and smooth so that you can resume your routine slowly and steadily.