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Brain Basics: Preventing Stroke

The disruption in blood supply results in a lack of oxygen to the brain. However, a TIA doesn't last as long as a stroke. The effects often only last for a few minutes or hours and fully resolve within 24 hours. In the early stages of a TIA, it's not possible to tell whether you're having a TIA or a full stroke, so it's important to phone immediately and ask for an ambulance. Even if the symptoms disappear while you're waiting for the ambulance to arrive, an assessment in hospital should still be carried out.

A TIA is a warning that you may be at risk of having a full stroke in the near future, and an assessment can help doctors to determine the best way to reduce the chances of this happening. These problems can be very disabling, even though they may not be as apparent to others as weakness or language difficulties.

However it is important to realise that these are just as much consequences of stroke, and to seek medical attention if needed. Patients are generally encouraged to return to their normal lives — depending on the effects persisting from stroke. Still is. You try undoing buttons and going to the toilet with one hand. Your lifestyle alters altogether and you get so cranky with people. I see myself as one of the lucky ones, in that I was hit on the right side of the brain, and even though it was tough, I was soon able to speak again.

They take you to hospital, drill a hole, and drain it. And they tell me I could face this again if I let stress get to me. The funny thing is that I never thought of packing it in. You know, I look back and recall that like all Aussie men, I believed I was bulletproof. Superman is a fictional character. Do it immediately. No excuses. During the months I spent in rehabilitation, I met so many people who had ignored the effect stress was having on their lives, and they ended up having a stroke or cerebral haemorrhage.

Now I understand the importance of a low fat diet, drinking alcohol in moderation only — and avoiding cigarettes like the plague. I used to smoke, and gave it up 18 years ago — but I should never have taken it up in the first place.

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And another thing: eat more fish! The Foundation aims to work for the prevention and treatment of brain disorders in this country through community education, support programs, and the promotion of research. Read more at Virtual Medical Centre. What is a Stroke? Does Stroke Affect Many Australians? What are the Effects of Stroke?

15 Things Caregivers Should Know After a Loved One Has Had a Stroke

There are two major types of stroke — Ischaemic and Haemorrhagic: An Ischaemic clot Stroke occurs when an artery carrying blood to part of the brain is blocked. The brain needs the constant supply of oxygen and glucose that the blood brings. If this blood supply is blocked for more than a few minutes then that part of the brain stops working properly and the brain tissue begins to die.

What does a stroke feel like?

If the blockage is not cleared within a few hours, all the part of the brain supplied by the blocked vessel may die; that is, it permanently ceases to work properly, leaving a scar in the brain. This is called brain infarction. Ischaemic strokes are the most common type of stroke, occurring more than five times as often as haemorrhagic stroke.

Blood in the artery is under pressure and so, as it spurts out, it damages some of the soft brain tissue, the extra pressure, swelling and inflammation from the blood within the brain may cause further injury. TIA is like an ischaemic stroke, in that it is results in the sudden loss of function of a particular part of the body because of a sudden lack of blood flow to a part of the brain. The main difference between a TIA and an ischaemic stroke is that in a TIA the symptoms disappear completely within 24 hours.

A TIA is a very important warning that the person is at increased risk of a future stroke. It is essential that proper medical treatment is sought so that this risk can be significantly reduced. Of all the neurological disorders stroke is the largest single cause of adult disability. For a 45 year old, the risk of having a stroke by age 85 is: one in four for men one in five for women The risk of having a stroke may increase for: People with a family history of stroke Some ethnic groups such as African Americans and Hispanics Those with risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or with an irregular pulse due to atrial fibrillation.

Every patient is affected differently, but one easy way to recognise and remember the signs of stroke is the FAST test: Using the FAST test involves asking these simple questions: Face — Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? Arms — Can they lift both arms? Speech — Is their speech slurred?

Do they understand you? Time — Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call straight away. Other symptoms that may also occur in stroke are: Loss of vision in one eye, loss of vision in half the visual field of each eye, or double vision. Sudden onset of dizziness or loss of balance. Sudden severe headache with no known cause: Drowsiness or loss of consciousness. Clot-dissolving medication alteplase, also known as tPA : Treatment aiming to dissolve the blood clot. Only suitable for carefully selected patients: It can only be given in the 4.

Patients with wake up stroke symptoms are normally excluded because of uncertainty about when the symptoms started. Not suitable for patients with a high risk of bleed, such as patients with recent surgery, trauma, or on strong blood thinning medications e.

3 Things Not to Do When Someone Is Having a Stroke

Warfarin, Heparin or the direct oral anticoagulants such as apixaban Eliquis , dabigatran Pradaxa or rivaroxaban Xarelto. Generally not used in pregnant patients Limited effectiveness for large clots blocking main arteries. Alteplase treatment carries a risk of causing bleeding, sometimes this may be life-threatening.

In carefully selected patients, the potential benefits far outweigh the risks, but this balance of benefit versus risk needs to be assessed by the treating doctor for each patient. Endovascular clot retrieval or mechanical thrombectomy : This is a surgical procedure, done via a catheter inserted into an artery in the groin, similar to the procedure used to perform a coronary angiogram or stent.

It is most suitable for patients with large clots in big arteries, usually resulting in more severe symptoms. The procedure may be performed under either local anaesthetic with sedation or under general anesthesia, depending on the individual circumstances. The catheter is threaded up to the brain through the large arteries and a device is then used to trap and retrieve the clot.

The degree of recovery after removal of clot is dependent on how much damage was done to the affected brain region from lack of blood supply before the clot could be removed. Recent clinical trials showed that, in patients with large clots and candidates for this treatment, on average about 1 in 3 recover almost completely, being independent 3 months after the stroke. Medication — Blood thinners.

There are two main kinds: 1-Anti-clotting antiplatelet medication, such as aspirin, or clopidogrel for those patients who have had an ischaemic stroke caused by a clot forming on an area of hardening of the arteries. Sometimes dipyridamole is used in combination with aspirin.

Used when the ischaemic stroke has been caused by a blood clot forming in the heart, breaking off and lodging in the brain. These medications are powerful blood thinners, and must be carefully supervised by the doctor. Blood pressure lowering medication: Lowering blood pressure reduces the risk for a second stroke. Many different blood pressure lowering medications can be used. Most people with high blood pressure will need more than one medication to lower their blood pressure to the target range. Cholesterol lowering tablets also lower the risk of a second stroke Diabetes medications to ensure excellent blood sugar control may be also prescribed.

Taking all these medications regularly, as prescribed, is very important for preventing another stroke. But your ability to recognize symptoms and seek emergency care for yourself — or others — can significantly improve the outcome. Recognizing the signs of a stroke can save a life.


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