Stroke: Warning Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments
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Stroke: Warning Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Stroke is a condition in which excess or lack of blood flow to the brain causes death of the brain cells. The two main types of stroke are Ischaemic; which is caused due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic; which is caused due to excess blood flow. Stroke has some standard warning signs or symptoms, which must be recognised timely for proper treatment and recovery.

Warning signs or symptoms of stroke:

It is vital to remember the main warning signs of stroke. It is easy to remember if one memorises the word, FAST. This word is formed out of the first letters of the general method of stroke detection.

  • F – Face Drooping
  • A – Arm Weakness
  • S –Speech Difficulty
  • T – Time to call Emergency Services

It is extremely important to call an ambulance immediately as a possible stroke is predicted, even if one is not completely sure. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry.

Other major symptoms of stroke include:

  • Paralysis on one side of the body
  • Difficulty in understanding simple things
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of balance
  • Severe headache
  • Loss of consciousness

Medical treatments after a stroke attack:

Stroke can be treated and the affected patient can be revived to normalcy by following the prescribed medical routine and post medical therapies. The medical tests involve:

  • Physical Examination
  • Blood Tests
  • CT Scan – A series of X-rays is used to create a detailed image of the brain. This is a computerised method of looking into the brain structure and the affected area.
  • MRI – Powerful radio waves and magnets are used to create a detailed picture of the brain cells. This helps in detecting brain tissue and cell damage.
  • Carotid Ultrasound – Sound waves are generated to create a detailed imagery of the interiors of the carotid arteries inside the neck and its surrounding areas near the head.
  • Cerebral Angiogram – The doctor inserts a thin flexible tube in the groin, through a tiny incision, and guides it through the major arteries into the vertebral artery. Then a dye is injected into the blood vessels to make them visible under the X-rays.
  • Echocardiogram – Sound waves are used to create a detailed image of the heart.

Medical treatment after these tests is carried out for maximum recovery. Throughout the intense period of medication, the patient is kept in the intensive care unit.

Rehabilitation processes after medical treatment of stroke:

The healing process does not stop at the hospital gates. One must go further and engage in post-medical rehabilitation therapies to ensure that there is retention of physical and psychological independence to the maximum possible level. In rehabilitative care, the patient is trained to go through various exercises and therapies that enable movement, understanding, and regular functioning.

  1. Speech and Swallow Therapy
    This therapy is conducted by a speech-language pathologist by helping the patient regain the ability to speak, understand, chew and swallow food. The training sessions in this therapy involve language therapy, non-vocal communication therapy, voice training for speech improvement, fluency development, and swallowing examination.
  2. Physiotherapy
    This is a physical therapy that helps the patient regain physical functional ability that was limited to the minimum level after stroke. The patient is required to carry out various exercises depending on the intensity of the ailment.
  3. Occupational Therapy
    This helps the patient in participating in the regular activities in order to regain the body’s functionality. Occupational activities like lifting light things, practising how to hold a spoon and eat with it, lifting a glass and drinking water, operating remotes, switches, and doorknobs are carried out to help regain independent movement.
  4. Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy
    Many a time, after stroke, the patient loses ability to understand even simple things, which results in confusion and anxiety. This therapy aims to help the patient understand their situation and function better. The process involves psychological assessment, skill acquisition based on cognitive capability, application training, and conduction of behavioural skills.
  5. Robotic Technology
    Modern technology and machinery help support the rehabilitation programme of a stroke survivor. There are various robotics that are used to help the patient regain mobility and independence.
  • EKSO: Helps boost mobility.
  • ERIGO: Helps a bed-ridden patient to come to a vertical position.
  • ARMEO POWER: Helps regain movement in the impaired arms.
  • BALANCE MASTER: Helps regain physical balance.

Popular myth says that stroke cannot be healed. The fact, however, is that stroke can be healed if treated timely and properly. Rehabilitation after medical treatment helps further bring back a patient to normal life and regain independence. Defeat stroke and live independently!