Strokes are usually diagnosed by carrying out physical tests and studying images of the brain produced during a scan.
When you first arrive at hospital with a suspected stroke, a doctor will usually want to find out as much as they can about your symptoms.
A number of tests can then be carried out to help confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause of the stroke.
This may include Blood tests to determine your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, checking your pulse for an irregular heartbeat and taking a blood pressure measurement.
Even if the physical symptoms of a stroke are obvious, brainscans should also be carried out to determine:
Different treatment is required for the different types of stroke, so a rapid diagnosis will make treatment more straightforward.
Everyone with suspected stroke should receive a brain scan within 24 hours and some people should be scanned within an hour of the onset of symptoms, especially those who:
This is why a stroke is a medical emergency and why 999 should be dialled when a stroke is suspected there isnt time to wait for a GP appointment.
The two maintypes of scan used to assess the brain in people who have had a suspected stroke are a computerised tomography (CT) scan and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan . The type of scan you may have largely depends on your symptoms.
A CT scan is like an X-ray , but uses multiple images to build up a more detailed, three-dimensional picture of your brain to help your doctor identify any problem areas.
During the scan, you may be given an injection of a special dye into one of the veins in your arm to help improve the clarity of the CT image and look at the blood vessels that supply the brain.
If it is suspected you are experiencing a major stroke, a CT scan is usually able to show whether you have had an ischaemic stroke or a haemorrhagic stroke. It's generally quicker than an MRI scan and can mean you are able to receive appropriate treatment sooner.
An MRI scan uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce a detailed picture of the inside of your body.
For people with more complex symptoms, where the extent or location of the damage is unknown and in people who have recovered from a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) an MRI scan is more appropriate. This will provide greater detail of brain tissue, allowing smaller, or more unusually located areas affected by a stroke to be identified.
As with a CT scan, special dye can be used to improve MRI scan images.
A swallow test is essential for anybody who has had a stroke, as swallowing ability is commonly affected early after a stroke.
When a person cannot swallow properly, there is a risk that food and drink may get into the windpipe and then into the lungs (called aspiration), which can lead to chest infections such as pneumonia .
The test is simple. The person is given a few teaspoons of water to drink. If they can swallow this without choking and coughing they will be asked to swallow half a glass of water.
If they have any difficulty swallowing, they will be referred to the speech and language therapist for a more detailed assessment.
They will usually not be allowed to eat or drink normally until they have seen the therapist and may therefore need to have fluids or food given directly into an arm vein (intravenously) or through a tube inserted into their stomach via their nose.
Further tests on the heart and blood vessels might be carried out later to confirm what caused yourstroke. Some of the tests that may be carried out are described below.
A carotid ultrasound scan can help show if there is any narrowing or blockages in the neck arteries leading to your brain.
An ultrasound scan involves using a small probe (transducer) to send high-frequency sound waves into your body. When these sound waves bounce back, they can be used to create an image of the inside of your body.
When carotid ultrasonography is needed, it should happen within 48 hours.
In some cases another type of ultrasound scan called an echocardiogram may be carried out to produce images of your heart and check for any problem with it that could be related to your stroke.
This will normally involve using an ultrasound probe moved across your chest (transthoracic echocardiogram).
Insome cases, an alternative type of echocardiogram called transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) may also be used.
This involves passing an ultrasound probe down your gullet (oesophagus), usually under sedation. As this allows the probe to be placed directly behind the heart, it produces a clear image of blood clots and other abnormalities that may not get picked up by a transthoracic echocardiogram.
Strokes occur suddenly and all at once; they pose a very serious threat to a patientÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s life. This condition requires immediate medical attention.
A stroke is a very severe condition. Immediate medical attention is necessary; the medical staff usually conducts a series of examinations and medical procedures to offer first aid.
Due to another disease or condition, a blood vessel in a certain area of the brain may rupture (break) and cause the blood to spread to the surrounding tissue and damage it.
At the onset of a stroke, a few main symptoms should be notices, which are easy to remember by using the acronym F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time).
A myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when a portion of the heart is deprived of oxygen due to blockage of a coronary artery. A stroke is a medical condition medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
A personÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s emotional state is an important factor in the function and development of their daily activities. Anxiety, depression and stress are conditions which compromise and affect a personÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s daily life.
Risk factors for stroke, that are worth mentioning include: Atherosclerosis (Depositing of lipids in the lumen of blood vessels in the form of plaques), High blood pressure, Lack of physical activity, Obesity, Continuous consumption of alcohol, Smoking, etc.
It could occur that prior to a patient experiencing a stroke, they may experience warning signs. A few days or weeks in advance they may experience light symptoms such as unusual headaches, a light lip distortion, numbness in the arm or leg, vertigo, brief loss of vision, difficulties articulating, amnesia, etc.
There are different types of Stroke, they include: brain stroke of the ischemic type, brain stroke due to hemorrhage (cerebral hemorrhage) and hemorrhages due to the rupture of blood vessels or due to vascular malformation, etc.
A stroke due to a hemorrhage occurs more rarely than a cerebral ischemia. The major cause for this type of stroke is arterial hypertension.
The causes of Transitory Ischemia include: a blood clot, the narrowing of blood vessels in the brain, diabetes, high cholesterol levels.
Hypertensive encephalopathy is an acute syndrome during which severe hypertension is accompanied by headaches, nausea and vomiting, confusion, convulsions, stupor (somnolence) and coma, and other transitory neurological symptoms.
Shortly after the patient arrives at the hospital, physicians look for the typical symptoms of a stroke. These symptoms involve; Symptoms evident in the face, its retraction to one side (the face seems to droop on one side), problems with the limbs, (usually arms), hands and legs are numb or cannot be moved, etc.
A Stroke can be Ischemic or Hemorrhagic. Since these two types of stroke develop via different mechanisms, the treatment is accordingly different. Important for the treatment of strokes is preventing the disease a long time in advance.
A stroke is a serious and life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.
A stroke is a severe condition and a serious threat, which requires immediate medical intervention. This disease is a major cause for invalidity and mortality in the world. Strokes are ranked third in the world in regards to mortality.
If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance. Even if the symptoms of a stroke disappear while you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive, you or the person having the stroke should still go to hospital for an assessment.
There are two main types of stroke - ischaemic strokes and haemorrhagic strokes - which affect the brain in different ways and can have different causes. Ischaemic strokes are the most common type of stroke.
Strokes are usually diagnosed by carrying out physical tests and studying images of the brain produced during a scan. Even if the physical symptoms of a stroke are obvious, brainscans should also be carried out to determine: if the stroke has been caused by a blocked artery (ischaemic stroke) or burst blood vessel (haemorrhagic stroke), which part of the brain has been affected, how severe the stroke is.
Effective treatment of stroke can prevent long-term disability and save lives. If your blood pressure is too high, you may be offered medicines to lower it. Medicines that are commonly used include: thiazide diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, alpha-blockers. Some ischaemic strokes are caused by narrowing of an artery in the neck called the carotid artery, which carries blood to the brain. The narrowing, known as carotid stenosis, is caused by a build-up of fatty plaques.
Two of the mostcommon psychological problems that can affect people after a stroke are: Depression many people experience intense bouts of crying and feel hopeless and withdrawn from social activities, anxiety where people experience general feelings of fear and anxiety, sometimes punctuated by intense, uncontrolled feelings of anxiety (anxiety attacks). The injury to the brain caused by a stroke can lead to widespread and long-lasting problems.
The best way to prevent a stroke is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Ensuring a balance in your diet is important. If you have not fully recovered from your stroke, you may find that you will have become particularly sensitive to alcohol and even the recommended safe limits as above for the general population may be too much for you.
Jim Whyte was forced to give up work after having a stroke, but he's proved that there is life after a stroke. Jim had high blood pressure and was diabetic, which are both risk factors for stroke. However, he had never smoked and, due to his diabetes, was already following the healthy diet recommended for stroke survivors.
Having a stroke on the first day of his summer holiday was the last thing Stephen Harnet expected, especially as he was a healthy 32-year-old at the time. It turned out that the stroke was due to a condition I was born with called AVM (arteriovenous malformation), which is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels (arteries and veins), and can affect the brain and lead to a stroke. Before the stroke I was a technical manager working 12-hour days, seven days a week.
David Diston had a major stroke that left him paralysed down his right side and unable to speak. Now he has made a near total recovery, and has even run a marathon. He woke up in an assessment ward at Swindons Princess Margaret Hospital. He had no feeling or movement down his right side, and he couldn't speak. After a few days, he was moved to a specialist stroke unit where the doctors explained that he would have to learn to speak, write and walk again from scratch.
Manjit Bains was just 26 when he had a stroke. Determination, support from his family and friends and rehabilitation helped him get his life. "This hasn't been a solo journey. I've had a lot of support, including psychologists and counselling. After intensive care I was nursed on a medical ward at the hospital where I had been working."
Before June/ 17/ 2000, Jane Stokes CBE was a successful lawyer with a 25-year career in the civil service. She says her lifestyle may have raised her risk of a stroke. As a smoker, she had developed a two-pack-a-day habit. She drank moderately and neglected her fitness when her career began to take over. Recovery is a long process.