The main task of doctors is to restore blood circulation in the brain of a person with a stroke. Since some of the brain cells have already died, time plays against – the sooner treatment is started, the more a person has a chance to survive and have less destructive consequences.
One of the main treatments for ischemic stroke is thrombolytic therapy. A person is injected with drugs that dissolve the blood clot. It makes sense to carry out such treatment only in the first hours after a stroke.
Treatment for hemorrhagic stroke is reduced to controlling bleeding and reducing pressure on the brain. Methods depend on the cause of the stroke – high blood pressure, head trauma, taking anticoagulants – blood thinners, a thin spot in the wall of a blood vessel – an aneurysm.
How to reduce your risk
Attention to your health and lifestyle, called prevention, can prevent up to 80% of strokes. The main catch is that it’s difficult to do prophylaxis when nothing hurts. So, at least, it was in the situation with my dad.
What can you do to reduce your risk of stroke? Change your lifestyle and influence modifiable risk factors: eat right, do not smoke, do not drink a lot of alcohol, play sports, monitor your weight, control diabetes, blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and other conditions that increase the risk.
The diet should be high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and poultry. The consumption of red meat and other foods rich in saturated fat should be reduced. An excess amount of salt in the diet raises blood pressure, so a relatively safe dose of salt per day is about 6 g, which is about the same as a teaspoon.
Moderate physical activity 150 minutes per week (brisk walking, dancing, active games with children or walking with pets) will be a great contribution to the prevention of heart disease.
According to statistics from the American Stroke Association, 10% of stroke survivors recover completely, 25% with minor disabilities, 40% with moderate or severe disabilities that require special care, 10% need to be transferred to a specialized long-term care facility. 15% die soon after a stroke.
Unfortunately, the catastrophe has already occurred, some of the brain cells have died. It is impossible to “cure” and bring them back to life. Therefore, rehabilitation after a stroke should be aimed at fully or partially restoring the lost skills – neighboring areas of the brain will take over the functions of dead cells – and, if possible, return to independent life. Ideally, rehabilitation should begin after stabilization of the condition – right in the intensive care unit or hospital ward.
Rehabilitation can include classes with different specialists, for example, a physical therapy instructor, a speech therapist. Abroad, the “rehabilitation” team that helps a person recover from a stroke is very large: it consists of a neurologist, a rehabilitation nurse, a nutritionist, a social worker and other specialists.