What Is a Stroke?
A stroke is an acute condition in which there is a sudden disruption of the blood circulation in the brain. The scientific name for stroke is cerebrovascular accident (CVA), which literally means accident of the blood vessels of the brain.
Getting a stroke is a major cause of death and can be a cause of disability. The symptoms that occur during a stroke depend on the type of stroke, the part of the brain and the size of the damaged area. It is important to recognize a stroke quickly, because the brain can only be without oxygen for a short time. With the help of the FAST test (Face-Arm-Speech-Time test) you can quickly recognize a stroke in someone. Doctors can use a CT scan or MRI to see what type of stroke the patient had. Doctors will keep a close eye on the patient and carry out follow-up examinations. A stroke can lead, among other things, to paralysis, speech and language disorders and depression. A physical therapist will help during the rehabilitation period after getting a stroke.
Causes and Recognizing a Stroke
The most common cause of stroke occurs when part of the brain fails because of a closure of a blood vessel in the head (because of a clot of blood). This is called cerebral infarction or TIA (short-term clogging of a blood vessel). Another cause of stroke is a brain haemorrhage. A brain haemorrhage is when a blood vessel in the head is ruptured, causing blood to flow into the brain tissue. On the outside it is not possible to see if someone has a brain haemorrhage or a cerebral infarction. That is why it is called a stroke, as long as the cause is not known. Approximately 80 percent of the strokes is a cerebral infarction and 20 percent a cerebral hemorrhage. It is important to quickly recognize a stroke in someone and seek medical care. The FAST test helps when there is a suspicion that the person is suffering from a stroke:
- Face: ask the person to laugh. If the mouth is crooked and/or a mouth angle hangs down, it can be a stroke.
- Arm (arm): ask the person to lift both arms with their eyes closed and extend them with the inside of the hand upwards. If this does not work, this can indicate a stroke.
- Speech: ask the person if there is a change in speaking and ask the person to count to ten. If this does not go well, the person may suffer from a stroke.
- Time: ask the person or bystanders how long these symptoms are occurring. This is important information for the emergency services.
Consequences and Treatment of Stroke
After a stroke, doctors will make a CT scan or MRI scan in the hospital, so that doctors can find out wether a TIA or brain haemorrhage occured. Cerebral hemorrhage sometimes involves an operation and someone with a cerebral infarction is eligible for thrombolysis. The occupational therapist, physical therapy, and speech therapist also examine the patient. They assess physical functions and speech. The treatment is mainly aimed at preventing a new stroke. For example, doctors can give the patient medication for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and drugs that slow the blood down. This is followed by a period of rehabilitation. The consequences of a stroke can be:
- Paralysis of muscles
- Apraxia (motor disorder where the individual cannot perform requested tasks)
- Language disorders (difficulties in using the native language)
- Speech disorders (such as stuttering)
- Vision disorders such as blurred vision)
- Neglect (disorder in perception on one side of the body)
- Changes in behavior or personality
Rehabilitation in Bangkok
A physical therapist can help with rehabilitation after a stroke. The physical therapist will start their treatment plan with you just a few days after the stroke. It is necessary to practice light exercise intensively, because exercise is important for the best possible recovery of the body after a stroke. The physical therapist can also treat a paralyzed arm or painful body parts. At Pain Away Clinic, we have physical therapists who are experienced with the rehabilitation process after a stroke. If you have any questions regarding our treatment plans or other available options, feel free to contact us.