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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of stroke

Stroke

Stroke

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of stroke

Consultation and assessment

Treatments

Stroke is the rapid appearance (usually over minutes) of a focal loss of brain function, due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain .The deficit is most commonly an inability to move one half of the body ( hemiplegia) with or without other signs such as aphasia, hemisensory loss and visual field defect deficit.

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Incidence, age and sex

Stroke is currently the second leading cause of death in the Western world, ranking after heart disease and before cancer,[ and causes 10% of deaths worldwide. 95% of strokes occur in people age 45 and older, and two-thirds of strokes occur in those over the age of 65.

Signs,symptoms and diagnosis

The combination of severe headache and vomiting at the onset of focal neurological deficits increases the likelihood of a haemorrhagic stroke. In most cases, the symptoms affect only one side of the body. Depending on the part of the brain affected, the defect in the brain is usually on the opposite side of the body.

A stroke can produce symptoms relating to deficits in cranial nerves such as altered smell, taste, hearing or vision (total or partial) drooping of eyelid (ptosis) and weakness of ocular muscles decreased reflexes: gag, swallow, pupil reactivity to light ,decreased sensation and muscle weakness of the face balance problems and nystagmus ,altered breathing and heart rate weakness in neck muscle with inability to turn head to one side or weakness in tongue (inability to protrude and/or move from side to side).

If the cerebral cortex is involved, the following symptoms may be present aphasia , apraxia , visual field defect, memory deficits, disorganized thinking and confusion. If the cerebellum is involved, the patient may have the following: trouble in swalking, altered movement coordination, vertigo and or disequilibrium.

Causes and prevention;

The disturbance in the blood supply to the brain can be due to ischemia (lack of blood flow) caused by blockage (thrombosis, arterial embolism), or a hemorrhage (leakage of blood).The fixed risk factors for stroke are age, gender (male > female, except in the very young and very old), race (Afro – Caribbean > Asian > European), heredity, previous vascular event, e.g. myocardial infarction, stroke or peripheral embolism and high fibrinogen levels. The modifiable risk factors are high blood pressure, heart disease (atrial fibrillation, heart failure, endocarditis), diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, polycythaemia, oral contraceptive and social deprivation. Stroke can be prevented by reducing all the identified risk factors. Anticoagulation can prevent recurrent stroke.

Complications

The weakness that affects the arm, leg, and side of the face may also impact the muscles of swallowing. Should food and saliva enter the trachea instead of the esophagus when eating, a lung infection maycan occur.

Because a stroke often results in immobility, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, pressure sores , depression and incontinence of the bowel and/or bladder may occur.

Submit a request for further information, a quotation or indicative cost. Your enquiry will be forwarded to up to 3 private healthcare providers. They will respond directly with further information.

Get a quote for stroke treatment >

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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of stroke
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