A stroke is one of the most life altering medical disasters a person can experience. Having worked at numerous hospitals and shadowed many physicians, I have come in contact with a few stroke victims. The worst aspect of a stroke is that most of them are preventable. High blood pressure and cigarette smoking put individuals at a much greater risk for strokes. If you fall under either category it is imperative you talk with your doctor immediately about proper stroke prevention. In my own evaluations, most physicians tend to recommend taking a baby aspirin daily to patients most at risk of suffering a stroke.
Fortunately, even though preventing a stroke is far and above the best medicine, there are many treatments available for stroke victims to help get their life back on track. In this article the treatments will be dealing with ischemic strokes, which is due to a clogged blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.
The gold standard in stroke treatment is tissue plasminogen activator. This activator works to help dissolve the clot and increase blood flow to the affected area of the brain. Like any treatment dealing with a stroke, time is extremely important. If the drug is administered within 3 hours the patient will have a significant chance of recovering from the stroke. The chances of recovery begin to significantly dwindle the longer the duration between the stroke and the administering of the activator. I have heard of similar treatments administered to stroke victims too late and the activator having little effect on the patient recovering. This is because once the blood supply is cut off, brain cells begin to die very quickly and the longer that area of the brain goes without oxygen the more cells that die. Brain cells cannot be regrown or replaced therefore once they are lost usually so is any chance at a successful recovery.
Other Procedures (Endovascular):
These more advanced procedures are quickly gaining ground as legitimate treatment options for stroke victims. The most popular endovascular procedure at the moment involves physicians using a catheter to enter the vessel near the clot. The physician may then administer the previously mentioned tissue plasminogen activator directly into the clot or he may use a type of balloon angioplasty to try to break the clot apart so that it can be dissolved easier. There is still a lot of research being done on this method of stroke treatment. I personally have never witnessed this type of treatment, but if you would like to read about patients who have undergone this type of stroke treatment visit Stroke Heroes Among Us.
Sources: Web MD