Types of Stroke
A cerebrovascular accident, commonly known as stroke, is the sudden loss of brain function due to the reduced supply of blood and oxygen to one or more parts of the cerebral hemisphere. There are two types of cerebrovascular accidents. One of them is called a thrombus. A thrombus is a fat embolus or a blood clot that occludes the artery supplying blood to the brain tissues. When this occlusion occurs, the distal parts of the brain are deprived of oxygen and the neuronal activity diminishes (Scanlon and Tina, 2007). The results of this pathophysiology are the manifestation of a stroke which includes muscle paralysis, drooling, slurred speech, and blurred vision depending on the area of the brain which is affected. The other type of stroke is called aneurysm. An aneurysm leads to hemorrhage inside the brain. The hematoma that results from this hemorrhage exerts pressure on the brain tissues leading to the loss of activity in the area where it covers (Scanlon and Tina, 2007).Diagnosis
The evaluation by a physician is the first diagnosis that points to a stroke. The patient presents to the clinic or hospital with slurred speech, drooling mouth, tearing eyes, and weakness in one part of the body. On suspecting that cerebrovascular accident has occurred, the physician requests for an emergency brain scan to identify a hematoma in the brain. The computerized axial tomogram shows areas of attenuation in the opposite cerebral hemisphere to the side exhibiting stroke symptoms. The doctor can also order a Creatine Kinase Muscle Brain (CK-MB) laboratory test. The Creatine Kinase has various isoenzymes whose differential concentrations point to certain pathologies in different body parts. Generally, CK-MB levels would go higher than normal if a cerebrovascular accident has occurred. The blood sent to the laboratory may also be examined for other markers of the disease. For example, if the stroke is due to a clot in the blood vessels, a total blood count (TBC) would show increased number of platelets, indicating that the production of these cells in the bone marrow is higher than normal due to the downstream demand. Another test called the D-Dimers may indicate a high fibrinolytic activity resulting from abnormal clot formation. If the doctor suspects that atherosclerosis is the cause of the brain stroke, they may ask the laboratory to evaluate the levels of cholesterol in the patient.
Stroke is a medical emergency. Once the doctor makes a definitive diagnosis, they may book the patient for emergency craniotomy. In this procedure, the surgeon opens up the skull and aspirates the hematoma to ease the pressure to the brain. Other kinds of treatment would depend on the laboratory findings. For example, high cholesterol level would call for the administration of statins and other fat-lowering therapies.
Complete avoidance of sedentary living is the ideal way of preventing lifestyle diseases that include strokes. Regular medical checkup can also detect early indicators of cerebrovascular accident. For hypertensive patients, strict control of blood pressure is an effective method to prevent complications like stroke.
Scanlon, V. C., Tina, S. (2007). Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, 5e. F. A. Davis Company. Philadelphia, USA.
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