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Stroke

  • What is a Stroke?

    A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is disrupted. The arteries (blood vessels) carrying oxygen-rich blood to the brain can become blocked, this damages the part of the brain fed by these arteries. The signs of a stroke vary depending on the location and size of the affected area. In a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), known as mini-stroke, the symptoms last up to 24 hours.

    There are 2 common types of strokes:

    • Ischaemic strokes occur when arteries supplying blood to the brain are blocked due to a build-up of cholesterol deposits, called plaques, in the walls of the arteries. These plaques can burst and lead to clot formation, which can then block blood flow to the brain.
    • Haemorrhagic strokes occur when the arteries in the brain burst due to high blood pressure and a brain aneurysm (balloon-like swelling in the wall of the artery).
  • Ischaemic strokes occur when the arteries supplying blood to the brain are blocked due to a build-up of cholesterol waxy deposits, known as plaques, in the walls of the arteries. This causes the arteries to narrow, or they can burst and lead to the formation of a blood clot, which then block blood flow to the brain.

    Haemorrhagic strokes occur when the arteries in the brain burst due to high blood pressure and a brain aneurysm (balloon-like swelling in the wall of the artery), the bleeding occurs from the arteries within the brain itself.

    Different factors increase the risk of a stroke, like a smoking habit and ageing. Other conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol level and diabetes mellitus increase the risk of a stroke. Some heart complications including irregular heartbeat, recent heart attacks, and previous strokes or TIA (mini-stroke) further increase the risks.

  • You may experience any of the following:

    • Difficultyin speech
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Loss of balance or coordination
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Loss of memory or concentration
    • Loss or blurred vision
    • Sudden severe dizziness
    • Sudden severe headache
    • Sudden weakness and/or numbness on one side of the body
  • Your doctor will evaluate your condition and suggest the best treatment depending on the type of stroke you have experienced:

    • Blood thinners (eg. aspirin) to help blood flow in ischaemic stroke patients and reduce the risk of a second stroke
    • Carotid endarterectomy surgery to remove a severely narrowed neck artery in the brain reducing risk of another stroke
    • Medications and dietary changes to control blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood glucose level
    • Rehabilitation treatment to help stroke patients continue normal daily activities independently through individualised physiotherapy and speech therapy programmes
    • Surgery to treat haemorrhagic strokes
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