Brain Stroke Treatment
Not a long time ago doctors believed that stroke treatment would be useless because they considered that the brain cells die few minutes after a stroke. Nowadays researchers are convinced that whereas some cells of the brain may die, others could survive up to few days. As a result, stroke treatment is now available but the most important thing a person who is at risk of developing a brain stroke could do is to avoid the risk factors.
Avoiding or reducing the risk factors is mandatory for those who may develop this condition and it is also the first step in preventing the disease. High blood pressure and smoking are the first risk factors for a stroke that should be avoided. Also, patients who suffer of diabetes have greater chances to suffer from a stroke than those who do not have diabetes. Some medication such as warfarin can produce a stroke when the dosage is higher or smaller than the patient actually needs.
Stroke treatment may consist in tissue plasminogen activator or tPa in cases of strokes caused by blood clots which accounts for as much as 85% from all cases of strokes. The tissue plasminogen activator is used in order to dissolve the clot and then restore blood flow in the brain. This type of stroke treatment has an increased risk of causing bleeding in the brain but it was proved that when it is used correctly its benefits outweigh its risks. In order to be effective, treatment with tPa must be started within three hours from the time the stroke symptoms appear. This type of stroke treatment is recommended particularly for patients with hemorrhagic strokes.
Stroke treatment can also include medication such as aspirin or heparin which thin the blood. They are usually administrated in patients who suffered a stroke in order to improve their recovery. They are also used in order to prevent potential further strokes. Related to stroke American Heart Association published in 2007 a study in which the use of hyperbaric oxygen was suggested to be effective in treating patients suffering of acute ischemic stroke but a following review of the studies however did not find this type of treatment effective and as a result it is not used.
Given that some heart diseases such as atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia can contribute or lead to a stroke, in some cases stroke is treated by treating the underlying heart related conditions. Usually this means the administration of anti-clotting drugs or even heart surgery.
The carotid endarterectomy and the cerebral angioplasty are the two surgical procedures that can be performed in order to treat a stroke. The first is normally performed when the carotid artery from the neck is partially blocked by a plaque and its purpose is to remove the plaque. The latter is a surgical procedure that consists in treating blood vessels related problems.
Rehabilitation is the process in which the patient must regain his or her functional abilities. It usually takes place in a hospital or at a nursing facility. Depending on the severity of the case, the rehabilitation is the most important step in stroke treatment and it includes speech therapy (including learning talking and swallowing), occupational therapy (for regaining dexterity in the hands), physical therapy and family education.