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Symptoms & Causes Of Stroke Or Brain Attack
Feb 28, 2023

What Are The Symptoms And Causes Of A Stroke Or ‘Brain Attack’?

In the medical world, there are various diseases and medical conditions that are termed as silent killers. These are diseases or conditions that may show no symptoms prior to its impact on your body. A stroke is considered to be of them. It is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. In India, stroke is among the top 5 causes of death. In 2016, it led to more than 6.5 million cases, which is up to 7.1% of the total deaths that happened in India that year. While your health insurance may help you cover the cost of treatment*, you can also take preventive measures to avoid that scenario.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood and oxygen to your brain either has a blockage or gets ruptured. This limits the vital supply of blood and oxygen to your brain, impacting its functioning and slowly starts taking a toll on your body. Stroke is considered as a critical illness, and hence you can buy critical illness insurance to support the financial costs incurred during the treatment of this condition.* There are three types of strokes that can occur:

1. Ischemic stroke

This type of stroke is caused by a blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the brain. Blockages can be caused by clots, wherein blood particles get deposited in the vessel and cause a blockage. Blockage can also be caused due to the fatty deposits, i.e., plaque. While plaque is common in heart blockages, it can get deposited in a blood vessel supplying to the brain as well.

2. Haemorrhagic stroke

This type of stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain. When the blood vessel gets ruptured, it can flood the area around the brain with blood, impacting the brain cells and their functioning. Reasons for haemorrhaging can be associated with a high blood pressure or an aneurysm.

3. Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

This type of stroke is generally termed as a ministroke. Here, the blood flow to the brain gets blocked temporarily. Although the symptoms are similar to that of a regular stroke, they may disappear in some time and the blood flow to the brain may resume as normal.

 Symptoms of Stroke

The symptoms of a stroke can vary depending on the type of stroke and the area of the brain affected. However, some common symptoms include:
  1. Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Confusion or difficulty while speaking or difficulty in understanding speech
  3. Vision problems in one or both eyes
  4. Dizziness or loss of balance
  5. Severe headache with no known cause
Oftentimes, people may waive off these symptoms as signs of fatigue. However, it is best to seek medical help if you experience any of these signs. Time is of the essence in the treatment of stroke, as the longer a person goes without treatment, the greater the risk of permanent brain damage. If you or any of your family members has these symptoms, it is vital to get timely treatment. The cost of treatment can be taken care of with the help of health insurance plans for family.*

How to diagnose a stroke?

The diagnosis of a stroke may involve:
  1. Blood tests to check your blood sugar level, platelet counts, and cholesterol level among other things
  2. An MRI scan to see the condition of your brain
  3. A CT scan to check for any signs of bleeding or damage related to your brain
  4. An electrocardiogram (ECG) to determine the functioning of your heart
  5. To check for any clots or blockages in the blood vessels situated in your neck and brain, a cerebral angiogram is conducted
  6. A carotid ultrasound is conducted to check for fatty deposits in the carotid arteries of your body.
  7. To find signs of clotting in your heart, an echocardiogram may be performed
If you have individual health insurance, make sure to check the policy document to see which of these tests are covered by your policy.*

Treatment for Stroke

The treatment for a stroke depends on the type of stroke and the severity of the symptoms. For ischemic strokes, treatment typically involves the use of a medication called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), which is given through an IV and works to dissolve the blood clot that is blocking the blood flow to the brain. In some cases, a procedure called a thrombectomy may be performed, in which a catheter is inserted into the artery to remove the clot. For haemorrhagic strokes, the main goal of treatment is to control the bleeding and lower the pressure on the brain. This may involve the use of medication to lower blood pressure and prevent further bleeding, as well as surgery to repair the ruptured blood vessel or remove the aneurysm. If you or your loved one suffers either an ischemic or haemorrhagic stroke and you have a health cover, you can get treatment at a network hospital of your insurer with the help of cashless health insurance.*

Prevention of Stroke

There are several things you could do to reduce your risk of having a stroke. Keeping a check on your blood pressure may prove to be vital as it is a major risk factor for stroke. Thus, it is important to keep your blood pressure under control through diet, exercise, and medication if necessary. Try to eat a healthy diet. A diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein may help lower your risk of stroke. You may consult your healthcare provider to figure out the best approach for you to manage your blood pressure. Quitting or limiting the use of tobacco and alcohol is also known to have a positive effect on lowering the chances of a stroke. Exercising regularly can help maintain fitness and reduce your weight as well. *Standard T&C apply Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.  

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