A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, either by a blockage in the blood vessels or by bleeding in the brain. When this happens, the brain cells die, causing permanent disability or even death.
Types of stroke
There are two main types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, accounting for about 85% of cases. It occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked. The blockage can be caused by a blood clot that forms in an artery in the brain or in another part of the body and then travels to the brain.
Hemorrhagic stroke is less common, but more serious. It occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures or leaks, causing bleeding in the brain. This can be caused by high blood pressure, an aneurysm, or other conditions that weaken the blood vessels in the brain.
What happens during a stroke?
Imagine your brain is like a city, with roads and highways that carry important supplies of oxygen and nutrients to every part of the city. Suddenly, a major road is blocked, causing traffic to grind to a halt. The trucks carrying oxygen and nutrients are stuck, and the buildings they supply start to suffer. Some buildings lose power and shut down, while others start to burn or collapse.
This is similar to what happens during a stroke. When a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or ruptures, it cuts off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to certain areas of the brain. Just like a city with a blocked road, the brain cells start to suffer and can quickly become damaged or die.
How to recognize stroke and what to do
If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, it is important to act quickly. Every minute counts when it comes to treating a stroke, so getting medical attention as soon as possible can make a big difference in their recovery. Here are the steps to follow:
- Remember the acronym BEFAST:
- Balance – loss of balance
- Eyesight – blurry or doubling of vision
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Go to the Emergency Room
- Go to the Emergency Room of a stroke-ready hospital: If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, go to the ER of a stroke-ready hospital immediately. For a list of stroke-ready hospitals, please visit strokesocietyphilippines.org
- Stay with the person: If the person is conscious, stay with them and reassure them that help is on the way. Try to keep them calm and comfortable. If they are unconscious,make sure that their airway is clear and monitor their breathing until help arrives.
- Do not give them anything to eat or drink: In case the person needs surgery or other medical procedures, it is important that they have an empty stomach.
- Note the time: Make a note of the time that the person’s symptoms first appeared. This will help the medical team determine the best course of treatment.
Remember, the best thing you can do in the event of a stroke is to call forseek emergency medical help immediately. Do not wait to see if the person’s symptoms go away on their own, as this can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening.
Asian Hospital as a stroke-ready hospital
A stroke-ready hospital is a medical facility that has specialized equipment, specific processes and trained staff to provide rapid diagnosis and treatment for stroke patients. These hospitals are equipped to provide emergency care for patients who are experiencing a stroke, with the goal of minimizing brain damage and maximizing the chances of recovery. Some of the characteristics of a stroke-ready hospital include:
- Availability of specialized stroke care: Stroke-ready hospitals have a team of medical professionals who are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of stroke. This team includes neurologists, radiologists, and emergency medicine physicians.
- Rapid response times: Stroke-ready hospitals are equipped to respond to stroke patients quickly and efficiently, with the goal of providing treatment within the “golden period” – the first 3 hours after the onset of stroke symptoms.
- Advanced imaging capabilities: Stroke-ready hospitals have advanced imaging equipment, such as CT scanners and MRI machines, that can quickly and accurately diagnose the type and severity of the stroke.
- Access to specialized stroke treatments: Stroke-ready hospitals have access to specialized treatments for stroke, such as clot-busting medications and thrombectomy procedures, that can help restore blood flow to the brain and minimize brain damage.
Asian Hospital and Medical Center is recognized as a Stroke Ready Hospital by the Stroke Society of the Philippines. The hospital has a dedicated stroke unit with a team of stroke specialists, including neurologists, emergency physicians, radiologists, nurses and rehabilitation experts, who work together to provide comprehensive care to stroke patients. The experts are aided with state-of-the-art facilities and technologies, such as a CT scanner and MRI, which are essential in diagnosing and treating stroke patients. Additionally, a structured protocol and guideline for stroke care are strictly implemented, including the use of clot-busting drugs and other interventions, to ensure that patients receive timely and appropriate treatment.
The hospital acknowledges the critical role it plays in providing efficient and appropriate treatment to stroke patients with the aim of restoring the patient’s quality of life post-hospital visit. Stroke is critical and time bound. It’s best to know where to go when it happens. Know more about Asian Hospital’s brain attack team and stroke treatments by calling our Asian Brain Institute at (02) 8771 9000 local 8444.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stroke. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/index.htm
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Stroke Information Page. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Stroke-Information-Page
- American Stroke Association. About Stroke. Retrieved from https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke
- World Health Organization. Stroke. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/stroke
- Mayo Clinic. Stroke. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20350113
- National Stroke Association. Stroke Facts. Retrieved fromhttps://www.stroke.org/stroke-resources/resource-library/stroke-facts/
- American Heart Association. Stroke. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/stroke
- Stroke Foundation. About Stroke. Retrieved from https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke
- National Stroke Foundation. Stroke Resources. Retrieved from https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Stroke-resources
- Brain Foundation. Stroke. Retrieved from https://brainfoundation.org.au/brain-conditions/stroke/
- Stroke Society of the Philippines website: strokesocietyphilippines.org