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Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and the fourth leading cause of death in Singapore. But catching it early can make a significant difference.

 

Dr. Manish Taneja

Neurointervention Specialist, Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic

Stroke Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment: A Complete Guide

A stroke occurs when a bleeding or blood clot disrupts the blood supply to the brain. That’s why early detection and intervention can significantly reduce its life-long consequences. Through stroke screening, healthcare professionals can identify risk factors and take steps to prevent stroke or minimize its effects. This article discusses stroke causes, meaning, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and management.

 

What Are the Types of Stroke?

Strokes fall into two categories: ischemic and hemorrhagic.

1. A clot in a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain causes an ischemic stroke. This means that there is a blockage of blood supply causing ischemia.

2. A hemorrhagic stroke results from bleeding in the brain, usually brought about by an aneurysm (weakened artery wall). High blood pressure (hypertension) is among the most common reasons for a hemorrhagic stroke. Understanding these two types of stroke is critical for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

An elderly woman holding her head and not feeling well.
The first type of stroke is called ischemic stroke.
The second type of stroke is hemorrhagic stroke.

What are the Symptoms of Stroke?

The American Stroke Association invented the F.A.S.T. program to help people identify the signs of a stroke.

F: refers to Face drooping on one side

A: is for Arm weakness in one arm

S: represents Slurred speech

T: this means it’s Time to call emergency responders and rush them to see a neurointervention specialist. You can Google “stroke doctor near me” or “stroke hospital near me” to find a stroke hospital in Singapore.

The American Stroke Association invented the F.A.S.T. program to help people identify the signs of a stroke.
The American Stroke Association invented the F.A.S.T. program to help people identify the signs of a stroke.
The American Stroke Association invented the F.A.S.T. program to help people identify the signs of a stroke.
The American Stroke Association invented the F.A.S.T. program to help people identify the signs of a stroke.

How to Stop a Stroke? BE FAST 

Another acronym that is useful in the fast recognition of acute ischemic stroke and simple way to remember is BE FAST.

B: Balance Lost

E: Eyesight changes

F: Face drooping

A: Arm weaknesses

S: Slurred speech

T: Time to call 9-9-5

BE FAST - Stroke symptoms

Note: If you believe someone displays symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm, you must seek medical assistance immediately. Timely diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of survival and reduce severe complications due to a debilitating stroke, for example.

 

What are the Causes of Stroke?

When the blood supply to the brain is reduced or interrupted, it causes brain cells to die, leading to a stroke. Age, gender, and genetic predisposition are all risk factors that can increase a person’s chances of stroke. Individuals over 55 years, for example, are more vulnerable than younger people, as are men than women.

A family history of stroke can also increase someone’s susceptibility to stroke. Other stroke causes include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Read more about stroke management and prevention with Dr. Manish Taneja. We provide stroke and brain aneurysm care and treatments at our specialized stroke and brain aneurysm clinic at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore.

What is the Diagnosis of Stroke?

A neurointervention specialist takes a C.T. scan or M.R.I. of the brain to help identify the location and extent of the bleeding in strokes. They may also perform blood tests to look for abnormal clotting, and a lumbar puncture helps rule out bleeding in the spinal fluid. Your stroke doctor may perform an electrocardiogram (E.C.G.) to identify heart problems that could increase the risk of stroke.

 

Stroke Screening Process

Stroke screening involves performing a thorough physical examination. It also helps rule out risk factors such as age, family history, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, and diabetes.

  • A diagnostic test is conducted to detect the presence of any blood clots, blockages, or abnormalities in the brain using a C.T. scan and M.R.I.
  • A specialist interprets the diagnostic test results to determine stroke damage and the best course of treatment.
  • The appropriate course of treatment is prescribed based on the diagnostics and interpretation. Follow-up care is essential to help patients recover fully or prevent the occurrence of another stroke.

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore offers stroke screening below.

 

What Does Our Clinic Stroke Screening Involve?

Stroke screening process involves:
1. Consultation
2. Blood tests
3. MRI /CT scan of the brain and its blood vessels.

This non-invasive assessment is followed by appropriate advice/ treatment as required on an individual basis. Stroke screening can also be combined with cardiac and vascular assessment as required since risk factors for these medical conditions overlap.

 

Screening for High Risk Patients

These are the imaging tools used for screening. The exact scan depends on the underlying patients’ conditions.
– Head CT scan
– Ultrasound
– MRI scan
– MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography)

 

 

 

Treatment Options and Stroke Management

The primary treatment for an ischemic stroke is using blood-thinning medications that break up clots obstructing blood flow to the brain. A neurointervention specialist uses surgery and medicine to treat a hemorrhagic stroke, especially if the bleeding area is extensive. The goal is to stop the bleeding and avoid complications like permanent brain damage. Stroke treatment focuses on assisting patients in regaining movement and sensation on the affected side of the body.

Your neuro intervention specialist will recommend the most rigorous rehabilitation program based on the degree of disability caused by the stroke. The healing process is unique to each patient. But with medication, including speech, physical, and occupational therapy, recovery usually occurs during the first three to four months and well into the first or second year for severe stroke cases.

How Can I Lower My Risk of Stroke?

Manage your ABCS.

A: A1C Test. The hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test, commonly referred to as the A1C test, is a straightforward blood test that assesses your average blood glucose levels during the previous 3 months. This test is frequently employed to identify prediabetes and diabetes, and it is the primary diagnostic tool that assists you and your healthcare professionals in managing your diabetes.

B: Blood Pressure. High blood pressure can result in the bursting or blocking of the arteries that provide oxygen and blood to the brain. This can ultimately lead to the occurrence of a stroke

C: Cholesterol. Too much cholesterol may cause fatty deposits buildup in your arteries. If the arteries are narrow and stiff, this makes it harder for blood flow and an increased chance of blood clot development.

S: Stop Smoking. According to the World Stroke Organization, tobacco smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals which are transferred from your lungs into your bloodstream. “These chemicals change and damage cells and afect how your body works. These changes afect your circulatory system and increase your risk of stroke. Smoking can afect your body’s cholesterol levels, it reduces the levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and increases  the levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Higher levels of LDL cholesterol increase your risk of stroke.”

A brain aneurysm is a weak or bulging area in the wall of an artery in the brain. When an aneurysm ruptures or bursts, it can lead to a type of stroke called a hemorrhagic stroke. Read more about how brain aneurysms affect stroke risk.

Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic Treatments

There are more several types of neurointerventional treatments we offer to treat different problems. Swipe to learn more.

Stroke Management and Prevention

Stroke is one of the most common conditions causing death worldwide. There is high incidence of permanent brain damage severely affecting quality of life in affected patients. It can be a devastating event both for patient and the family.

The best way to treat a stroke is to prevent stroke. There are well known causes of stroke such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, poor controlled diabetes and smoking.

Stroke Screening

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It is also the leading cause of long term disability with debilitating and devastating consequences for both patients and family. One of the most recognizable outcomes of stroke is paralysis affecting a part or half of the body.

There are different types, grades and location of AVM in the brain. The symptoms that patients present with depend on these above factors.

Brain Aneurysm

Brain aneurysm is bulging or ballooning of a blood vessel supplying the brain. Brain aneurysms are present in 1 to 2% of population. The commonest age group affected is 40-60 years.

Brain aneurysms can cause non-specific neurological symptoms such as headaches, double vision, and more.

Headache

Headache is a very common condition that affects virtually everyone. Some individuals have more debilitating headaches than the others severely affecting their quality of life.

The two commonest type of headaches seen in clinical practice are migraine and tension headache. There are other causes of headache that may be caused by underlying structural issues in the brain or by other physiological issues affecting the structures of the brain.

What is Neurointerventional Treatment?

Neurointerventional treatments are performed to treat different problems that occur in the brain, spine, head, and neck. Neurointerventionalists use small instruments and catheters to go through blood vessels in your body to reach the affected area. This is done with the help of advanced imaging technology like CT and MRI scans to ensure precise treatment.

Introduction to Brain AVM

Brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an uncommon condition that is due to abnormal connection between arteries and veins in the brain substance. Almost 60% patients diagnosed with this condition are below 40 years of age.

There are different types, grades and location of AVM in the brain. The symptoms that patients present with depend on these above factors.

Carotid Stenting

Carotid artery is the artery in the neck supplying blood to the brain from the heart. Atherosclerosis of the carotid artery is responsible for causing stroke in about 20% of all patients with stroke worldwide.

Atheromatous deposits and plaques cause blockage of blood supply to the brain in high risk individuals. 

Intracranial Stenting

Intracranial Stenting is a less commonly known technique to treat stroke or prevent stroke. Blockage of blood vessels to the brain is a common cause of stroke in Asian population affecting up to 25% of patients presenting with acute stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) which is a precursor of stroke.

Acute stroke is a “brain attack” and there are two main causes, a blocked artery or leaking or bursting of a blood vessel.

Head and Neck Vascular Malformations

Vascular malformations are a complex spectrum of conditions with commonly used names being venous malformation, arteriovenous malformation, arteriovenous fistula, lymphatic malformation, hemangioma, lymphangioma.

Vascular malformation is an abnormal collection of blood vessels that can occur anywhere in the body. 

Read More About Neurointerventional Treatments on Our Blog

To dive deeper into the types of neurointerventional treatments, head over to our clinic’s blog and view our helpful video guides. Read our recommended neurointerventional treatments related blog posts to stay informed.

What is a brain aneurysm? Read our ultimate guide to brain aneurysm post to learn brain aneurysm causes,  symptoms, treatment options, and more. 

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Stroke Resources

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We’ve Got You Covered for Specialized Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management

Imagine heart attacks where the blood flow to your heart is blocked. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted becoming a “brain attack”. When blood supply does not reach a certain part, brain cells begin to die. Different types of stroke include ischemic strokes (blockage of blood vessel due to blood clot) or a mini stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack), with no permanent damage yet serious. Stroke also occurs when a blood vessel in the brain pops causing bleeding in the brain.

Certain areas of the brain can be affected by stroke and some symptoms of a stroke including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood sugar levels increase the risk of stroke whereas an active lifestyle or controlling high cholesterol reduces the risk. How well do you know stroke? Find tips to prevent and manage stroke, the differences in stroke screening tests, and the newer technology and treatments available. Come in for an easy consultation and further evaluation with our stroke specialist in Singapore at the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic. 

Supreme Vascular and Interventional Stroke Programs

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Discover brain aneurysm resources that go beyond the basics designed for patients. Understand the meaning of  a brain aneurysm condition, the causes, symptoms, signs, and more. Connect with your brain health.

Put Brain Aneurysm on Your Health Radar

Did you experience the worst headache of your life? Could it be a brain aneurysm that ruptures, which means bleeding in the brain? Thoughts could be racing through your mind. Then what is the difference between unruptured (a weak or thin spot on an artery in the brain that balloons) or ruptured brain aneurysm? If you’re wondering, then the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is here to help. It’s important to look out for the tell-tale brain aneurysm symptoms, signs, causes, and risk factors.

Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing brain aneurysm treatments since 1995 from surgical clipping to latest minimally invasive procedures. Each patient is unique as is the size and location of the aneurysm. Your brain has different conditions to treat the aneurysm and artery vessel walls of a blood vessel in the brain. This calls for personalised brain aneurysm treatment depending on your symptoms, family, history, medication, and more. A simple CT scan could be just what the doctor ordered and the first step in early detection and prevention of a brain aneurysm. Come in for an easy consultation with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore to be on your health radar.

Neurointerventional Treatments

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurological conditions and pain management. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.