Embolic stroke – Causes, Symptoms and treatment

By avn
4:51 am Posted June 9, 2016
In Stroke

Embolic stroke is one type of Ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot that originates in other parts of the body, most often in the heart, breaks-free and then travels to the brain along the blood stream and lodges itself in the blood vessel blocking the flow of blood.

Embolic stroke

Embolic stroke often occurs due to heart diseases or heart surgery. The onset is sudden and does not display any warning signs. People with atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart beat rhythm wherein the upper chamber of the heart does not beat effectively are more likely to suffer from an Embolic Stroke.

The blood clots, commonly referred to as the “Embolii” block the flow of blood to the brain, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients that is to be received by a particular part of the brain. When the blood supply stops, the brain cells impacted by the shortage of oxygen and essential nutrients die, causing brain damage.

Symptoms of embolic stroke:

Embolic Stroke occurs all of a sudden, with no warning signs. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the stroke. These include,

  • Sudden numbness in arm, leg or one part of the body
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Loss of balance
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble with vision – unable to see in one or both the eyes
  • Severe headache without a known cause
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty in comprehending and following simple instructions
  • Paralysis or weakness in one side of the body

Causes of Embolic Stroke:

There are many different conditions that increase the risk of Ischemic Stroke. Some of the most common risk factors are

  1. Unhealthy lifestyle
  2. Smoking
  3. Diabetes
  4. Heart diseases
  5. High Cholesterol
  6. High Blood pressure
  7. Age of the person

Treatment and Recovery:

Embolic Stroke is a life-threatening condition and every second counts. Flow of blood to the brain should be restored as early as possible to prevent the parts of the brain getting damaged any further. The treatment plan usually consists of:

  • Oral or intravenous clot-busting medications are provided to remove or dissolve the blockage or clot to restore blood flow. This will however have to be administered within 3 hours of the onset of the first sign of the stroke symptoms to be effective.
  • Catheter may be used if needed to remove the clot directly from the brain.
  • Surgery as an emergency option to remove the arteries that has been narrowed by plaque. This procedure is called carotid endarterechtomy.
  • Anti-coagulants are prescribed to prevent the blood clots from getting worse.

If the stroke is severe, the patient is usually detained in the hospital or a period of time for observation and to ensure that none of the symptoms worsen. In a few cases, they might also have to be put on ventilator support to aid breathing.

Rehabilitation of embolic stroke patients:

The recovery, post a stroke, may last from weeks to months depending on the severity of the stroke. Embolic stroke normally leads to physical disability and hence the recovery period is most likely longer. Patients who have had an embolic stroke, are recommended a rigorous rehabilitation program that usually includes physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to help them regain strength and return to normalcy as much as practically possible.

Ayurvedic treatment for Embolic stroke:

Ayurveda is extremely effective in aiding the recovery process, after the acute phase is over and the patient is discharged from a hospital. It is seen to be every effective in hastening the recovery process when used along with the conventional rehabilitation therapies.

In addition to the various Internal medicines that are available to help restore the function of the nervous system, various Ayurvedic therapies are also available that aid the recovery process. Nasyam is one such therapy where medicated oil is instilled into the nostrils. This therapy helps the repair of the nervous system in addition to strengthening the nerves. It is very important in improving speech as well. Siordhara, Pichu & Sirovasthi are other procedures that are very often employed in the treatment of stroke patients to help recover from the effects of stroke. Vasthi is another very important procedure, wherein medicated liquids are administrated through the rectum, thereby changing the neuro transmitter levels in the body and improving the neurological function. There are also a wide range of oil massages available, which help improve the micro vascular circulation thereby strengthening the muscles and relieving the spasticity or rigidity of the muscles aiding better rehabilitation.

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