Temporary or permanent loss of function occurs in the stroke area. Stroke is an emergency, and immediate treatment is of paramount importance. Early intervention can reduce or prevent brain damage and other risks.
What Causes Paralysis?
Certain parts of the nervous system are specialized in controlling muscle groups in the body. Partial or complete (total) paralysis may occur as a result of loss of function or complete damage to these regions due to various diseases. In this regard, the development of paralysis can be observed in patients with the following neurological problems:
- Stroke: When the nerve tissues are deprived of oxygen and nutritional support due to problems arising from the brain vessels, it is called a stroke. These problems may be due to occlusion of the veins by clots or other factors or to bleeding that develops as a result of damage to the veins. Again, in cases such as being without oxygen for a long time, which may result in disruption of the oxygen and nutritional support of the brain, and deterioration of the pumping function of the heart, nerve tissue damage may develop and paralysis may occur.
- Spinal cord or brain damage: As a result of serious injuries at the brain or spinal cord level due to high-energy physical traumas, especially traffic accidents, temporary or permanent damage to the nerve tissue may occur, resulting in paralysis.
- Multiple sclerosis: When the brain and spinal cord tissues are damaged by inflammation by the body's own immune system, various levels of paralysis develop.
- Infections: Paralysis may develop in the course of bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections that cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord tissues and their membranes. In this sense, the polio virus is one of the important factors that cause paralysis at the spinal cord level.
- Cerebral palsy: If problems develop during birth that cause the baby's developing nerve tissues to be deprived of oxygen and nutritional support, the developing nerve tissues will be damaged, and various levels of weakness may occur in the muscle tissues in later ages.
- Cancer: Paralysis may occur as a result of nerve tissues that are under pressure or damaged due to metastases originating from nerve tissues or belonging to other tissues. (Click for more information about cancer)
- Congenital or genetic diseases: If the nerve tissues are not fully developed or underdeveloped during the development process in the mother's womb, if the genes that regulate the functions and development of the nerve tissues are damaged, malfunctions and deficiencies in the nerve tissues at various levels may occur. This is one of the important causes of congenital paralysis.
What Are the Symptoms of Paralysis?
First of all, it is very important to understand that the patient has had a stroke. If you or someone around you is having a stroke, you should also pay attention to when the symptoms of nervous paralysis begin. Because of this disease, the group of patients who benefit most from treatment is those who are treated in the first hours after the onset of symptoms.
A stroke should be suspected if a person suddenly has the following symptoms:
- Numbness and loss of strength in the face, arm, and/or leg on one side of the body,
- Confusion or memory loss,
- Inability to form proper sentences, lisp, or not speaking at all,
- Difficulty swallowing due to loss of strength in the muscles,
- Imbalance, difficulty walking, or inability to walk,
- Vision loss in one or both eyes,
- Severe and sudden-onset headache,
In the case of one or more of the symptoms, it is necessary to seek emergency medical help without wasting time. It is important not to waste time to see if the symptoms will change. Every minute and every second are of great importance for stroke. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability.
Factors That Increase Stroke Risk
The vast majority of stroke risk factors are modifiable. These risk factors can be listed as follows:
- Harmful habits such as tobacco products and alcohol: Since the use of tobacco and tobacco products increases the formation of plaque in the vessels, it is among the top risk factors for stroke.
- Hypertension: Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for stroke. High blood pressure for a long time can cause occlusion or erosion of the veins.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can cause lubrication and narrowing of the vessels of the brain and neck. This can increase the risk of a stroke.
- High cholesterol: The vast majority of stroke cases are associated with high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood.
- Lack of physical activity: Regular exercise accelerates blood circulation and minimizes the risk of stroke.
- Obesity: Obesity is one of the most important causes of cardiovascular diseases, especially high blood pressure.
Risk factors such as these are modifiable. In other words, changes in one's life habits help to minimize the risk of stroke. However, factors such as genetics, age, gender, or previous transient ischemic attacks are non-modifiable risk factors for stroke.
Stroke (Paralysis) Diagnosis
Physical examination: Various tests are performed to listen to and control blood pressure and blood movements, as well as a neurological nerve test that your doctor considers appropriate.
Blood tests: Your infection status, blood clotting rate, tests to measure your blood sugar level, and your blood test may be done.
Computed tomography (CT) scan: X-ray; In a CT scan, it is used to create a detailed image of your brain. A CT scan may indicate bleeding in the brain, an ischemic stroke, a tumor, or other conditions. The purpose of the scan is to inject dye into the bloodstream for more detailed observation of the neck and brain blood vessels.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a detailed view of your brain. It is used in the examination of damage to the brain tissue caused by stroke and brain hemorrhage.
Carotid ultrasound: This test is used for detailed observation of sound waves inside the carotid arteries in the neck and shows blood flow and fat deposits (plaques) in detail.
Cerebral angiogram: In this procedure, a flexible tube (catheter) is inserted through your groin, diverting it into your main arteries. For X-ray imaging, your doctor will inject dye into your blood vessels, resulting in a detailed view of the neck and brain area.
Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram uses sound waves to create detailed images of your heart. It is a measurement system that measures the source of the clot by descending from your heart to your neck.
Stroke (Paralysis) Treatment
There are three effective treatments for stroke prevention:
Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA): This is a method used for strokes caused by blood clots. It can be applied risk-free in the presence of a specialist doctor. The most successful treatment should be carried out within three hours.
Endarterectomy: It is a surgical procedure in which plaque removal is performed to prevent blockage in the neck due to carotid artery and fat accumulation.
Medication: It is a form of treatment with the use of aspirin and similar antiplatelet drugs that can reduce the risk of stroke.
Other Methods in the Treatment of Stroke (Paralysis)
After the necessary emergency interventions, the reasons that affect you physically and psychologically are examined. Apart from medical intervention, it is also necessary and important to examine your mental state. Various therapies can also be applied interactively with your family and environment:
- Speech therapy: Various methods are used to facilitate communication, listening, understanding, and helping problems; relaxation of the person and the changing form of communication take place.
- Physical therapy: Movement and coordination also have a great impact on stress management. Physical therapy will trigger you to stay active at this point.
- Occupational therapy: The person's daily activities, such as bathing, cooking, and dressing, can help them realize and develop
- Support groups: The support group allows the person to cope more easily with mental problems that may arise after a stroke, such as depression or trauma disorder. Joining a support group can help a person cope with common mental health issues that can occur after a stroke, such as depression.
- Support from friends and family: Close friends and relatives play a major role in surviving the impact of a stroke by offering practical support and comfort.
You can also contact these units for other applicable forms of treatment:
- Rehabilitation doctor (physiatrist)
- Rehabilitation nurse
- Occupational therapist
- Speech pathologist
- Social worker or case manager
- Psychologist or psychiatrist
Is Full Recovery Possible After A Stroke?
There are many patients who return to their normal lives after a stroke. This is related to the degree of damage to the brain. With early diagnosis and treatment, it may be possible to prevent the progression of cell damage in the brain.
Does Stroke (Paralysis) Recur?
People who take cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins after their first stroke may be less likely to have another stroke within the next 10 years. Those who take statins after a stroke may be less likely to die within the next 10 years than those who don't take statins. These potential benefits of statins are significant, given the enormous burden that stroke carries around the world.