21065 Powerline Road, Suite A2 Boca Raton, FL 33433 561.883.7800
12040 South Jog Road, Suite 8 Boynton Beach, FL 33437 561.733.5083
8645 North Military Trail, Suite 401 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 561.619.9520
As the two main different kinds of stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic, are caused by different factors, both require different forms of treatment. It is particularly important that the type of stroke is diagnosed quickly, not just to reduce the damage done to the brain but because treatment for one kind of stroke may be harmful to someone who has had a different kind.
Ischemic strokes are caused by arteries being blocked or narrowed and so treatment focuses on restoring an adequate flow of blood to the brain.
Treatment can begin with drugs to break down clots and prevent further ones from forming. Aspirin can be given, as can an injection of a tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). TPA is very effective at dissolving clots but needs to be injected within 4.5 hours of stroke symptoms manifesting themselves.
Surgeons are able to remove plaque and any other obstructions from the carotid artery through surgery.
Emergency procedures include administering TPA via catheter directly into an artery in the brain or using a catheter to physically remove the clot from its obstructive position. Recent studies have cast doubt as to the effectiveness of these methods, and so research is still ongoing as to how beneficial these procedures are.
There are other procedures that can be carried out to decrease the risk of future strokes or TIAs. A carotid endarterectomy involves a surgeon opening the carotid artery and removing any plaque that might be blocking it.
Alternatively, an angioplasty involves a surgeon inflating a small balloon in a narrowed artery via catheter and then inserting a stent (a mesh tube) into the opening in order to prevent the artery from narrowing again.
Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by bleeding into the brain and so treatment focuses on controlling the bleeding and reducing the pressure on the brain that it is causing.
Treatment can begin with drugs being given to reduce the pressure in the brain, overall blood pressure, prevent seizures and prevent sudden constrictions of blood vessels. If the patient is taking anti-coagulant or anti-platelet medication like Warfarin or Clopidogrel, they can be given drugs or blood transfusions to counter the medication’s effects.
Surgery can be used to repair any problems with blood vessels that have led or could lead to hemorrhagic strokes. Surgeons can place small clamps at the base of aneurysms or fill them with detachable coils to stop blood flow to them and prevent rupture.
Surgery can also be used to remove small arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) if they are not too big and not too deep within the brain. AVMs are tangled connections between arteries and veins that are weaker and burst more easily than other normal blood vessels.
Strokes are life-changing events that can affect a person both physically and emotionally. As such, certain rehabilitating activities may need to be carried out in order for a person who has experienced a stroke to fully recover.
Speech therapy can help with problems producing or understanding speech. Practice, relaxation and changing communication style, using gestures or different tones for example, all help
Physical therapy helps with relearning movement and co-ordination. It is important to get out and about, even if it is difficult at first.
Occupational therapy helps to improve the carrying out of routine daily activities, such as bathing, cooking, dressing, eating, reading and writing.
Joining a support group can help with common mental health problems such as depression that can occur after a stroke. Many find it useful to share common experiences and exchange information.
Support from friends and family is also useful and can provide comfort. Letting friends and family know what can be done to help is very important.
Preventing a stroke
The best way to prevent a stroke is to address the underlying causes. This is best done by living healthily. Here is a list of simple measures that can be followed:
Avoid illicit drugs
Eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in cholesterol and saturated fat
Keep blood pressure under control
Keep diabetes under control
Maintain a healthy weight
Moderate alcohol consumption (or quit drinking)
Treat obstructive sleep apnea (if present)
As well as these lifestyle changes, a health care provider can help to reduce the risk of future strokes through prescribing anti-coagulant and anti-platelet medication. In addition to this, the arterial surgery previously mentioned can also be used to lower the risk of repeat strokes.
Pipers Glen Plaza
12040 South Jog Road, Suite 8
Boynton Beach, FL 33437 P: 561.733.5083 F: 561.733.5084
The Shops at Boca Grove
21065 Powerline Road, Suite A2
Boca Raton, FL 33433 P: 561.883.7800 F: 561.883.7801
12040 South Jog Road, Suite 7
Boynton Beach, FL 33437 P: 561.510.7136 F: 561.510.7152
Square Lake North Plaza
8645 North Military Trail, Suite 401
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 P: 561.619.9520 F: 561.619.9522