The Story About Strokes – An Acquired Brain Injury
There are two major types of strokes:
– The ischemic stroke is when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. If a clot forms in a narrow artery, it is called a thrombotic stroke. If the clot breaks off and travels to the brain, it is called a cerebral embolism.
– A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel in part of the brain bursts open and blood leaks into the brain. This usually causes a severe headache.
The causes of a stroke are high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, high cholesterol, a family history of strokes, being over fifty-five years of age, living an unhealthy lifestyle, having heart disease, being overweight, drinking heavily, smoking, using illegal drugs, ethnicity, a previous history of strokes or TIA’s and women over thirty-five who are on birth control pills, especially if they smoke.
Some of the symptoms are a severe headache, slurred speech, inability to speak or to understand, loss of balance or coordination, confusion, numbness or tingling on one side of the body, vision problems and muscle weakness.
For best prognosis, it is extremely important to get medical treatment within three hours of first symptoms but no later than four to five hours. At the first signs of a stroke, it will be imperative to call 911 in order to get immediate treatment. This reduces disability and can save lives. Medical staff will examine and possibly give a clot-dissolving drug, do tests with probably tests using all or some of the following – an Angiogram, a CT scan, an MRI, and an Echocardiogram. There will probably be lab tests done as well.
Treatment and prognosis will depend on the cause of the stroke, the severity of the stroke, what has been affected and how quickly treatment was begun. There may be bladder and bowel problems, muscle and nerve problems, speech, memory and thinking difficulties as well.
There are three coping strategies for emotional problems related to strokes:
– approach-oriented coping where the patient consciously works towards minimizing the emotional challenges of the acquired brain injury;
– coping which indicates a lack of motivation where patient chooses not to express his/her emotions;
– avoidance coping where the patient actively avoids coping with their emotions. With this type of coping, there is usually a high level of depression.
Patients who have suffered a stroke may possibly need physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and swallowing therapy. And because it is common for patients to at least initially experience memory loss, rehabilitation in this area may be required as well as using memory aids such as a diary, calendar or a daytimer.
To reduce your risk of of having a stroke, exercise at least thirty minutes each day, eat a nutritional died rich in fruits, vegetables and beans, low-fat dairy products and foods that are low in sodium and fats.
Because a stroke is loss of blood to the brain, the importance of early medical intervention can’t be stressed strongly enough in order to reduce the likelihood of a more debilitating disability.