Stroke

What happened to the person who suffered the stroke?

A stroke occurs when a brain blood vessel either bursts or is blocked by a clot. If one of the brain arteries ruptures, there is bleeding into the brain tissue (intracerebral haemorrhage) or in the space between the brain and the meninges (subarachnoid haemorrhage).

However, if there is a sudden blockage of one of the brain arteries, then a brain infarction occurs. This type of stroke is called an ischemic stroke.

Stroke symptoms can be mild or very severe, but an urgent neurological examination is always required  as it is essential  to administer the therapy as soon as possible

How stroke recurrence can be prevented?

Some kind of medical treatment is needed anyone who has had a stroke. High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the most important risk factors for all types of stroke, and it needs to be regulated. After a brain infarction, medications to regulate blood pressure, blood lipids (fats) and increased blood clotting are usually needed. Depending on possible concomitant diseases, a neurologist might also recommend some other medicines, such as antidiabetics.

In addition to medical treatment, non-pharmacological (without drugs) measures to prevent stroke are equally important. Depending on the individual needs and lifestyle, it might be necessary to stop smoking,  achieve weight reduction, modify poor nutritional habits or sedentary lifestyle.

How recurrence of stroke caused by cardiac arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation) can be prevented?

Atrial fibrillation is a disorder of the heart rhythm that favours the formation of a blood clot in the heart cavity. If this clot breaks off from the wall of the heart cavity, it can create a blood flow obstruction in the brain arteries. The resulting brain infarction may be called an embolic or cardioembolic stroke.

These patients have a significant risk of recurrent stroke, but there are effective drugs that can be used to prevent another stroke. These drugs are called anticoagulants because they can reduce the risk of blood clotting (coagulation) in the heart cavity. Although highly effective, they are also associated with significant bleeding risks. However, because of its high efficacy, a neurologist will recommend some of the anticoagulant drugs to most patients with atrial fibrillation. Considering effectiveness, possibility of side effects and ease of administration, most patients benefit most from one of the newer anticoagulant drugs.

What is the importance of physical activity in rehabilitation after stroke?

Physical activity is of great importance in stroke rehabilitation. It has many positive effects, not only on improving muscle strength and joint mobility but also on the reparative processes that occur in the brain that has been damaged by a stroke. Physical activity stimulates intact brain cells to establish new interconnections, which contributes to the restoration of lost or impaired functions. There are plenty of clinical studies showing that physical activity is important in maintaining the cognitive abilities that are often impaired in older life, especially after a stroke. It also leads to the restoration of self-esteem, which also can be severely affected by stroke. If the patient and his or her family take a passive stance regarding physical activity, the residual neurological deficit will recover poorly, and the sense of the quality of life will be poor. If the patient and his or her family take a passive stance regarding physical activity, the residual neurological disorder will recover poorly, and the sense of the quality of life will remain low.

What diet is good for patients after a stroke?

The type of diet recommended after a stroke depends on individual needs. For example, obese people need a diet that aims to gradually lose weight, while poorly-nourished people need an adequate diet that sometimes needs to be enriched with some of the nutritional supplements. However, unless a special diet is recommended, the Mediterranean type of diet is a great choice for most patients. This type of nutrition is based on foods that have a high proportion of olive oil, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables The Mediterranean diet includes moderate to high fish consumption, moderate dairy consumption, and a low proportion of meat and meat products. A less salty diet is also recommended to people who have had a stroke.