What is a Stroke and How Is It Diagnosed? What are the Two Kinds of Stroke?

New Delhi, October 17—A stroke is widely regarded as a medical emergency. In case of someone experiencing a stroke, a doctor or specialist should be contacted without any delay.

 

Who Deals With a Stroke?

It is highly recommended that the patient’s kin should look for specialists like Dr. P N Renjen, who is widely known Neurologist in Delhi. who are highly trained in their fields. Selecting an experienced team of physicians led by a stroke neurologist to treat stroke is of paramount importance as far as recovery of patient is concerned.

 

Generally, we hear that Neurologists or may be Neuro Surgeons treat the stroke patient and it is true also but on many occasions, considering the nature of stroke, there are other sub-departments of Neurology which may also deal with treating s stroke patient. Hence, a stroke can be treated and recovered from effectively with a team of neurologist, neuroradiologist, neurosurgeons, and physiatrists who are trained in modern medical advancements and technologies.

 

Apart from the specialists and experienced doctors in the above mention departments, a Vascular Neurologist may also treat a stroke patient, Vascular Neurology is a subspecialty of neurology, a physician who is specialized in cerebrovascular disease and vascular diseases of the central nervous system. Vascular neurologists have expertise in the diagnosis and management of stroke and brain imaging.

 

How Does a Stroke Occur?

The occurrence of a stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted as a result of a broken or blocked blood vessel. Stroke may be haemorrhagic or ischemic.

 

Haemorrhagic Stroke: A haemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures or breaks, allowing blood to leak into the brain.

 

Ischemic Stroke: An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked or restricted by severely narrowed arteries causing the clotting of blood.

 

Since the treatment of stroke depends on the type of stroke, your stroke doctor may use head CT or head MRI to help diagnose your condition. Blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), carotid ultrasound, echocardiography or cerebral angiography can be some other tests which the patient may have to undergo. Time plays a major factor in treatment of strokes. Immediate help can save lives and reduce disability by restoring blood flow for an ischemic stroke or, in case of a haemorrhagic stroke.

 

The first step in assessing a stroke patient is to determine whether the patient is experiencing an ischemic or haemorrhagic stroke so that the correct treatment can begin. A CT scan or MRI of the head is typically the first test performed.

 

Below are some tests which can be performed on the patient to diagnose a patient with a stroke:

 

Computed Tomography (CT) of the Head CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. Physicians use CT of the head to detect a stroke from a blood clot or bleeding within the brain. To improve the detection and characterization of stroke, CT angiography (CTA) may be performed. In CTA, a contrast material may be injected intravenously and images are obtained of the cerebral blood vessels.

 

MRI of the Head: MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. MR is also used to image the cerebral vessels, a procedure called MR angiography (MRA). Images of blood flow are produced with a procedure called MR perfusion (MRP). Physicians use MRI of the head to assess brain damage from a stroke.

 

Electrocardiogram (ECG) An ECG is done to help determine the type, location, and cause of a stroke and to rule out other disorders. ECG checks the hearts’ electrical activity, can help determine whether heart problems caused the stroke.

 

Doppler/Cartorid Ultrasound: An ultrasound like a Doppler Ultrasound (also Cartorid Ultrasound) can also be done on the patient to check for narrowing and blockages in the body’s two carotid arteries, which are located on each side of the neck and carry blood from the heart to the brain. Doppler ultrasound produces detailed pictures of these blood vessels and information on blood flow.

 

Cerebral Angiography. Cerebral Angiography is performed with x-rays, CT or MRI, and in some cases a contrast material, to produce pictures of major blood vessels in the brain. Cerebral angiography helps physicians detect or confirm abnormalities such as a blood clot or narrowing of the arteries.

 

What is a Silent Stroke?

A silent stroke is one which occurs without any symptoms. The damage done by a silent stroke is the same i.e. it still manages to damage brain tissue. A stroke is weakness or paralysis on one side of the body or the other. There may be a partial or complete loss of voluntary movement and/or sensation in a leg and/or arm. A stroke can cause speech problems and weak muscles of the face, which can cause drooling. Numbness or tingling in the leg, arm, or face is very common. A stroke involving the base of the brain can affect balance, vision, and swallowing functions.

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