Stroke Treatments

Stroke Treatments

Stroke Treatments

Apr 24, 2023

What is a stroke?

Brain cells begin to die when blood supply is cut off to the brain which is known as, stroke. A stroke can happen to almost anyone and usually have visible effects such as confusion and or slurred speech. Simple risk factors of a stroke are high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity or old age. 

There are two types of stroke that are widely known which are, Ischemic and Hemorrhagic. When a blood vessel is blocked it is known as Ischemic stroke. Blood not entering the brain adequately damages the surrounding tissue. When there is an excess amount of blood entering the brain this is called a Hemorrhagic stroke. This is usually caused by a tear in a blood vessel in the brain. Blood entering or not entering the brain is the main difference between the two different strokes. Stroke’s can sometimes leave permanent damage such as weak muscles, difficulty swallowing, problems with communication, loss of memory etc., which is why prompt treatment is vitally important. 

Why is prompt treatment of a stroke important?

A stroke can have a catastrophic effect on normal life. Checking the face for droopiness, weakness in arms, slurred speech and lastly calling for help are important steps in lowering your chances of permanent damage to the body. When diagnosing an Ischemic Stroke or a Hemorrhagic stroke a CT scan or MRI can be used. Restoring blood flow as rapidly as possible for an Ischemic stroke is crucial to preserve any future cell death that can occur. This is when seconds are important. Prompt treatment is crucially important to not let there be any lasting visible damage to the body. Prompt treatment allows there to be less of a chance of long lasting effects from the stroke. Depending on how much time has gone by the doctor decides the best treatment option for this type of stroke.

What are the best treatments for a stroke?

There are different treatments for establishing blood flow to the brain such as Tissue Plasminogen Activator, also known as TPA, which wakes the body’s clot fighting system. Although with this treatment there is a time limit. This is known as the go-to treatment for Ischemic stroke because it is proven most effective which is the best treatment for Ischemic stroke. It is the simplest option. If it is within 3-4.5 hours since symptoms have started, TPA can be given through the vein. TPA is able to dissolve the blood clot and help to make a full recovery. 

Endovascular therapy is another type of emergency treatment for ischemic strokes. A catheter, which is a tube that is narrow and lengthy, is inserted into the groin and then travels to the brain to pinpoint the exact place the TPA is needed. This type of therapy allows the clot to be dealt with head-on. Aspirin is also given to prevent more clots from forming.

A stent retriever in addition to TPA can also be used to remove the clot from the brain that is blocking the blood vessels that are traveling in the brain. Sometimes when a clot is large TPA may not be enough to dissolve it so stent retriever is a method that can be used in such cases. 

If warfarin, TPA, is contraindicated as a treatment for the stroke, aspirin would be the best option. They all serve a similar purpose. There are many other TPA’s, blood thinners that can be used as an option. 

How quickly you act once you are aware of having the stroke is important in the process of treatment. Once the diagnosis is made in determining the size and the location of the type of damage that was done to the brain because of the stroke a treatment plan is then created. Excess bleeding in the brain and the pressure that is being caused as a result because of the surplus fluid which is known as a Hemorrhagic stroke. 

In crisis measures of a stroke, if Aspirin is being taken by the patient different medications could be given to reverse the effects of the aspirin. 

Surgery is considered as the best treatment option for those suffering from a Hemorrhagic stroke. If there are problems with the blood vessel repairing it surgery could be an option. Another treatment for stroke with surgery is relieving pressure from the brain by removing the blood at the specific part. Beams of radiation, known as Stereotactic radiosurgery, is when tradition is focused into that part to fix blood vessels is another surgery option. If needed, Coiling is possible, this is where a catheter is inserted through the groin which makes its way to the brain then coils will be inserted into the aneurysm to stop the blood flow. Surgical clipping is another treatment method where a clamp is placed at the bottom of the aneurysm to stop it from hemorrhaging.

What is the best treatment to give a possible stroke patient who is not in the hospital?

Before or if a stroke victim is not able to make it to the hospital while having a stroke the first thing to do is to F.A.S.T. This is important for early recognition of the symptoms so you can get the emergency help that is needed. F (FACE), first you have the stroke victim try and smile to check if there is weakness in their muscles. Next, is A (ARMS), have the stroke victim try and raise their arms. If the stroke victim is not able to raise even one up then this could be an obvious symptom of a stroke. Third, is S (SPEECH), this is where you have the stroke victim try and speak to you. T (TIME), is the most important, you need to call for help as soon as possible. 

The person needs to be ready to administer CPR and open their airway in case it is needed. Supporting the stroke victim by checking their heartbeat, inhale and exhale, comfort as well as responsiveness is important. These are the best treatments to give a possible stroke victim who at the time is not at the hospital and cannot make it to the hospital as rapidly as needed.

How to recover after a stroke?

The three recovery treatments for a stroke are physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. These treatments need to start as early as possible. Once the emergency treatment is done then the treatments after are to help you recover from the stroke and return to your normal day-to-day lift. The impact that it has on your daily life also depends on what part of the brain was most affected from the stroke. 

If the right side was impacted then your movement on your left side would be affected and then vice versa. If the left side of the brain has damage then it can cause disorders in speech. After a stroke patients who survive usually go into rehabilitation which is combined with physical, occupational and speech as mentioned above. A stroke can also be cured if the patient is willing to follow the rigorous therapy as mentioned. The first couple of months are crucial in how fast a stroke victim will recover from the effects of the stroke. For some people it could take up to three years to fully recover if possible. Some people may fully recover, although some who had a severe stroke may be left with disabilities for the rest of their lives.