A stroke occurs when the brain is deprived of blood supply. Causes are usually a vascular calcification or blood clots from the heart. Because of the widespread risk factors (high blood pressure, high blood lipids, high blood sugar, smoking, physical inactivity), strokes usually occur in the older age and that is mostly the cause for permanent disability. But young people can also be stroke victims due to heart defects, cerebral vein damage or more rarely genetic disorders.
The main symptom is the sudden onset of mostly hemiplegia or sense disorders, more rarely isolated visual disturbances, dizziness and loss of the facial area. A stroke is a medical emergency, similar to a heart attack (even if there’s no pain or symptoms do not regress) and requires an immediate ambulance alert. A computer tomography is always required to exclude a cerebral haemorrhage. Specialised treatment centres (“Stroke Units”) try to restore the cerebral blood flow as quickly as possible (whiting a few hours, every minute counts!) or to limit the extent of damage. Thereafter, a rehabilitation treatment often needs to be joined at a special facility, which may include: Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, neuropsychological training and measures for the reintegration and prevention of new strokes. Post-stroke complications include chronic paralysis and disabilities, pain and epileptic seizures.
Prevention of a stroke is possible primarily through early control of the above-mentioned risk factors and should start as early as possible in adolescence. Migraine sufferers have a slightly increased risk of a stroke but the frequent auras practically never lead to any lasting damages. However, the demarcation to strokes is occasionally difficult when a migraine aura occurs first.
If a symptom of a stroke or striation is suspected, you should immediately visit the nearest Stroke Center, or if necessary, alert the ambulance (Tel. 144).