It is very important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke and seek medical assistance immediately.
Preventing brain damage, disability, and aiding recovery depends on getting treatment in the first few hours following a stroke. Brain cells that are deprived of blood flow and oxygen for even just a few minutes will die.
Getting emergency medical assistance as soon as you experience symptoms of stroke is critical because there are treatments that may be given to help restore blood flow to the brain, prevent further tissue damage in the brain, or prevent recurrent strokes. Studies show that 40-70% of individuals experiencing a stroke do not arrive at the hospital within the first 3 hours of a stroke to be eligible for potential treatment with clot-dissolving medications.
Medications that may be used for the treatment of stroke include both short-term and long-term medications.
Short-term treatments include using injections. 2 types of injections are:
- thrombolytics (e.g., tissue plasminogen activator, tPA), clot-dissolving medications that aim to break up the blockage within the affected blood vessel in an attempt to restore normal blood flow and limit damage to brain tissue. These medications can only be used in some individuals within 3 hours after the onset of symptoms and are given intravenously by trained health care professionals.
- anticoagulants (e.g., heparin), used in some cases to decrease the clotting ability of the blood. They do not dissolve blood clots that have already formed, but may prevent clots from becoming larger and causing further problems.
Long-term treatments include medications taken by mouth to reduce the risk of recurrent strokes. These include:
- antiplatelets (e.g., acetylsalicylic acid [ASA], clopidogrel, dipyridamole, ticlopidine)
- anticoagulants or "blood thinners" (e.g., dabigatran, warfarin)
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using any herbal supplements or over-the-counter products, as these medications may increase the risk of bleeding while you are taking medications for stroke.
Other important treatments to be considered for stroke prevention include:
- blood pressure-lowering medications
- cholesterol-lowering medications
- surgical procedures (e.g., carotid endarterectomy) in some people
Another way to prevent stroke and related long-term illnesses is to reduce your risk factors with the following suggestions.
Modify your lifestyle:
- stop smoking tobacco
- increase your level of physical activity
- limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks per day (maximum 10 drinks per week) for women and no more than 3 drinks per day (maximum 15 drinks per week) for men
- maintain a well-balanced diet
- reach a healthy weight
- manage stress in your life
Manage your medications and medical conditions:
- take your medications as directed by your doctor and pharmacist
- if you have high blood pressure, monitor your blood pressure regularly
- if you have a heart condition such as congestive heart failure or atrial fibrillation, take medications as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist
- if you have diabetes, use a monitor to check your blood sugar regularly
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Stroke