What is a stroke (stroke)
If the blood supply to the brain is suddenly interrupted somewhere, we speak of a stroke. A stroke is also called ‘stroke’ or stroke. CVA stands for Cerebro Vascular Accident: an accident in the blood vessels of the brain. Two forms of stroke are distinguished: a cerebral infarction and a hemorrhage. A cerebral infarction occurs because a blood clot seals a blood vessel in the head. Part of the brain cells therefore no longer receive oxygen and nutrition and die. 80% of those affected have a stroke.
Stroke Cerebro Vascular Accident
A brain hemorrhage is caused by a crack in the vascular wall of a blood vessel in the brain, or because a blood vessel bursts into a weak spot. Blood enters the brain cells, damaging brain tissue. A stroke is the leading cause of death among women and comes in third place among men. Every year, approximately 41,000 people (3 in 1,000) in the Netherlands are affected by a stroke. This mainly concerns the elderly. A stroke is a serious condition. In the first month after the stroke, 25% of people die. Recovery after a stroke requires a lot of time. No recovery is expected after 6 months.
We speak of a TIA when a part of the brain temporarily does not get enough blood. As a result, certain brain cells work temporarily less well or not at all. TIA stands for Transient Ischaemic Attack. Freely translated, this is a ‘transient blood flow disorder’. Some call it “a passing stroke”
Stroke symptoms (stroke)
The symptoms of a stroke can be very different. The symptoms depend on the location in the brain where the blood supply is interrupted. For example, it may concern speech disorders, the inability to use limbs and sensory disorders. Unconsciousness can also occur, in which case, there is an emergency.
A rapid test that allows patients, their families or bystanders to quickly recognize a CVA themselves is the “FAST test” (Face-Arm-Speech-Time Test). Deviations from questions 1, 2 or 3 make a CVA likely.
- 1. Face Ask the patient to show his teeth. Make sure the mouth is crooked and a corner of the mouth hangs down.
- 2. Arm Ask the patient to simultaneously extend both arms horizontally and turn the inside of the hands upwards. Watch if 1 arm sinks or wanders around.
- 3. Speech Ask if there are any changes in speaking (unclear speaking or no longer being able to speak).
- 4. Time Ask the patient what time the symptoms started or try to find out in a different way.
How does a stroke occur?
A stroke can have two causes. 80% of CVAs are caused by a closure of a blood vessel in the brain (cerebral infarction); 20% due to a leak in a blood vessel in the brain (brain hemorrhage). In both cases, too little blood flows to a part of the brain.
The vascular problems are usually caused by poor condition of the blood vessels. The most important risk factor for the occurrence of a stroke is age: the older the higher the chance of a stroke. Factors that give extra risk of narrowing or blockage of blood vessels are:
A stroke (CVA), is it serious and what can you expect? A stroke is a serious condition. 25% of people die in the first month after the stroke. The consequences of a stroke can be significant. Physical limitations may continue to exist, but there may also be psychological and/or social consequences.
The physical limitations of a stroke include:
- paralysis on 1 side of the body
- speech or language disorders
- swallowing problems
- loss of vision on one side or double vision
- disturbances in thinking, emotions, and behavior
- very sudden very severe headache.
The chance of a new stroke with lasting consequences is greatest in the first weeks or months after a TIA or stroke. A rapid diagnosis and treatment are therefore necessary to reduce the risk of new stroke or TIA. In the treatment of a stroke, a distinction is made between three phases: the acute phase, the rehabilitation phase, and the chronic phase. The acute phase takes approximately 10 days. The patient comes through the doctor or directly to the hospital for diagnostics, treatment, proper nursing, and first rehabilitation.
In many cases, hospitals have set up a special stroke unit for this. The rehabilitation phase lasts on average six months after the stroke. The most improvement can be achieved during this period. Rehabilitation can take place in the rehabilitation center, the nursing home or at home. The chronic phase covers the entire period after the rehabilitation phase. In this phase, the invisible effects of a stroke often come to the fore. This may include problems with thinking, changes in character and behavior, difficulty with performing (simple) daily actions, such as dressing and cooking food. These problems are often experienced as the most difficult by patients and their immediate environment.
When to the doctor?
For symptoms that you recognize through the “FAST test”, you must immediately notify the doctor or ambulance. In addition, problems such as loss of vision on one side, acute double vision or acutely occurring very severe headache are reasons to consult your doctor.
What can you do about it yourself?
You can do little about a stroke yourself. The most important thing is that professional help is called in quickly. If the patient is unconscious, monitoring respiration is very important. This can be done by placing the patient in a stable side position.
General advice and precautions
Preventing arterial calcification is important in preventing a stroke. A healthy lifestyle contributes to this. This includes:
- stop smoking; smoking is very bad for your blood vessels
- limit the drinking of alcohol to no more than one or two glasses per day
- try to lose weight or at least not to gain weight
- try to exercise every day
- if you have high blood pressure, make sure you follow the given lifestyle and treatment recommendations; and take your medication daily
- care for diabetes mellitus for proper adjustment of your blood sugar
- if you have high cholesterol, make sure you follow dietary advice and take medication to lower cholesterol faithfully
- eat healthy with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit
Stroke Cerebro Vascular Accident