Stroke is sudden onset of neurological disability. It happens because of sudden blockage of blood vessel in the brain or sudden bleeding in the brain. Within minutes, the affect part of the brain dies. On average, every year, 26,000 new patients suffer from stroke in Hong Kong. The peak time for onset of stroke is when temperature suddenly drops, e.g. around November to December.
Symptoms of stroke
The symptoms of stroke include (1) weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, (2) confusion and drowsiness, (3) difficult to speak, (4) dizziness, (5) blurring of vision, (6) severe headache, (7) incontinenece, (8) vomiting, and (9) coma. Mini-stroke means patients suffered for one or more of the above named symptoms, but only temporarily.
Stroke can be caused by diseases such as, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillations, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol level. Patient with following diseases would have higher risk of stroke.
- Patients with coronary artery disease, cardiac & peripheral vascular disorders
- Cigarette smoker
- Lack of physical activity
Some patients have hidden time bomb in the brain, e.g. cerebral aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation,
which may cause bleeding in the brain.
Primary prevention is more important than treatment after stroke. More than half of the strokes are preventable. Persons with regular physical activities, balance diet, not smoking have a much lower chance of stroke. Good control of blood pressure, blood glucose and lipid are very effective way of preventing stroke. Person with family history of stroke, should have detailed body check up to see if there are risk factors for stroke.
Treatment & Surgery
Stroke is an emergency. If patients suffered from stroke attend hospital immediately and have accurate diagnosis of stroke within the golden hours of treatment, there are drugs that can stop further bleeding in the brain or unblock a blocked blood vessels. In severe case, neurosurgical operation may be needed remove blood clot in the brain or blockage of bleeding vessels. Nowadays, neurosurgeon can use cure cerebral aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation without open surgery.
After stroke, most patients need treatment of the cause of stroke with medications or neurosurgery. Surgical procedures includes (1) carotid endarterectomy or angioplasty to remove significant narrowing of the artery to the brain, (2) clipping of endovascular embolization of cerebral aneurysm. (3) Surgery or radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformation.
Many patients need to undergo a series of rehabilitation like physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc…
Continuing Rehabilitation Centre SAHK