Spinal Stroke | Types , Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
December 19, 2021

SPINAL STROKE

Do you know what stroke is? The hindrance of blood flow to a specific part of your brain damages or kills the brain cells due to lack of oxygen. Another common medical condition is spinal stroke, which disrupts the blood supply to the spinal cord. These are medical emergencies, so they require urgent treatment. Otherwise, it can risk your life.

What are the Types of Stroke?

Ischaemic Strokes

A blood clot completely clogs an artery within or moves towards the brain. It is the most common stroke type that affects more than 85% of people.

Haemorrhagic Strokes

It happens when an artery within your brain spurts, which blood seeps into your brain. The extra blood builds pressure within the brain where the spinal bleed has occurred; hence, damaging your brain tissue. However, these strokes are less prevalent than ischaemic strokes but have profound effects.

Mini Stroke

A mini-stroke, also referred to as Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA), happens when your blood flow to the brain is temporarily interrupted. Hence, you may experience symptoms only for a couple of minutes or for some hours. However, the symptoms are likely to settle down within 24 hours. And if the symptoms last for more than a day, the doctor may refer to it as a stroke.

So, if you suffer from a mini-stroke, you become vulnerable to a full-blown stroke. So, it is a clear warning that a major stroke may follow. Hence, you should seek immediate medical attention and evaluation to prevent the severe stroke that is likely to follow.

What is the Risk?

Anyone in any age group can suffer a stroke. Statistics show that every four minutes, a person expires due to a stroke. And 75% of the strokes occur in people aged 65 years and above. Also, males are more susceptible to stroke than females. Besides, people who have formerly suffered from mini-stroke or have a family history of stroke are at a higher risk. Some health conditions increase the risk of stroke, so you must follow a healthy lifestyle:

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Heart Ailment

  • Coronary Rhythm Disorders

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • High Blood Cholesterol Levels

  • Oral Contraceptives

  • Inactive lifestyle

  • High Intake of Alcohol

  • Overweight

The greater the risk you have, the higher the chance of stroke. Else, hypertension or high blood pressure is the critical cause of stroke.

What are the Symptoms?

You may abruptly observe the symptoms of the stroke. Else, the symptom types depend on the affected brain region.

Some of the typical primary symptoms of spinal stroke encompass:

  • Dead LegSudden emotionlessness, paralysis, or weak limbs or leg

  • Slurred speech

  • Intense headache

  • Loss of Vision

  • Memory Loss

  • Misperception or confusion

  • Imbalance and dizziness

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Incontinence

  • Rhomboid Spasms

  • Constipation and Back Pain

And if the stroke damages the brain, you may experience long-term effects that include:

  • Compromised Vision

  • Difficulty comprehending or forming speech

  • Severe weakness or hemiplegia (paralysis of the affected side)

  • Impassiveness, unusual sensation, and pain that usually worsens due to movements or temperature variation

  • Difficulty Swallowing

  • Depression

  • Emotional Issues like regulating your emotions or expressing unfitting feelings.

  • Problem with thinking, focus, learning, verdict, and remembrance.

What are the Diagnosis and Treatment?

As spinal cord stroke can be life-threatening, a prompt diagnosis and treatment are required. It increases the chances of survival and supports faster recovery. So, when you consult a cardiologist, they may evaluate your condition through the following way:

  • Assess existing signs and symptoms

  • Analyze your medical history or any former head injuries

  • Evaluate personal and family history of cardiac problems, stroke, and a mini-stroke.

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) to evaluate the heart’s electrical activity 

  • An echocardiogram helps appraise any abnormalities in your heart functionality and structure

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) appraises the electrical activity of the brain.

  • A cerebral angiogram offers a comprehensive picture of brain arteries

  • Ultrasound provides a detailed scan of the neck arteries

  • CT Scan provides a thorough cross-sectional illustration of your brain

  • MRI provides a complete image of the brain

  • Blood Tests

  • X-rays

Treatment

Your treatment is determined by the type of stroke you suffer. However, the immediate treatment in the emergency room targets controlling the stroke intensity and helps avoid any future stroke.

Experts have introduced acute stroke therapies that can help stop a stroke when it occurs. The technique immediately dissolves the blood clot caused due to an ischaemic stroke or halt the spinal bled caused due to hemorrhagic stroke. It entails treating the patient through medications or performing a surgical treatment.

Medications

  • Thrombolytic therapy medicines help dissolve blood clots and resume normal blood flow.

  • Anti-platelet drugs and anticoagulants help reduce the size of the clots and prevent the development of new ones.

  • Antihypertensives are ideal for treating hemorrhagic stroke patients as it helps regulate the blood pressure

  • Medication help reduce inflammation in the brain and treat heart rhythm disorders.

Surgery

A surgery helps repair clogged or shattered arteries. So, if you have suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, surgery will repair your ruptured posterior spinal artery. However, in case of an ischaemic stroke, surgery will help remove the blockage in the spinal artery.

Supportive Treatment

After you suffer a stroke, you need to intake sufficient fluids and consume a healthy, nutritious diet, specifically if your swallowing is affected. So, your doctor may insert an IV drip in your hand or arm. Alternatively, the physician may insert a feeding tube through your nose that travels down to the stomach.

Long-Term Treatment

Your brain cells don’t regrow. So, after surviving a stroke, brain cell damage can affect the brain functionality of the particular region. However, it is only to some degree. Hence, your brain’s adaptive ability will require re-learning of many skills.

So, you may engage in a rehab plan customized to every patient’s needs to teach them skills and improve their brain functionality. These plans are formulated in unification with the patient, doctors, and the patient family to help them achieve maximum independence.

Some examples of rehabs include physiotherapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. Moreover, recovery time varies for every patient and depends on age and health condition.

Catogries: Back Pain | Blog

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