As soon as doctors have diagnosed , they can begin treatment your stroke. That stroke treatment has three main purposes: to stop further damage to brain tissue, to rehabilitate you, and to prevent another stroke.
Ultimately, the goal of all stroke treatment is to return you to the most independent life possible. The damage to the brain from stroke is permanent, but in many cases it can be compensated for to a large degree. In fact, many stroke survivors recover completely and return to fully independent lives.
Today stroke treatment can be individualized to each person’s needs as never before. New therapies now under investigation promise even more beneficial treatment options in the future.
How does the doctor choose which stroke treatment is best for each individual? The stroke injury itself, which varies widely from person to person, is the doctor’s most important guide. She must know where the stroke has occurred in the brain, its six, and the type of lesion.
If you have blood abnormalities or poor circulation, these related problems must also be addressed. At the same time, your doctor must take steps to lessen the changes of another stroke occuring and treat the medical complications that often accompany any serious illness.
Still other factors help determine your course of therapy. Your age alone rarely affects what your treatment will be. More important is your physical and mental condition apart from your stroke. For example:
– Major surgery to remove a leaky aneurysm might be fine for an older person in good health. But if you are the same age and also have advanced heart disease, this type of surgery may be unwise.
– Anticoagulant medication usually isn’t the right answer if you are also severely hypertensive. The combination may increase your chance of brain hemorrhage.
– Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble remembering to take medication every day as prescribed.
Each of these situations, and many others, can alter the nature of an individual stroke treatment program. For many stroke survivors, rehabilitation training is also part of their regimen.
Stroke hits people in one of two ways. Either the brain gets too little blood because of a blockage in the artery, causing an ischemic stroke, or an artery ruptures, causing a hemorrhagic stroke. These are two very different conditions, and they need different treatments.
Doctors can try two general approaches to improve blood flow to the area affected by ischemic stroke. One addresses the circulatory system and tries to improve the patient’s overall blood flow, often by treating the heart and blood vessels. The other works by treating the blood itself, to prevent clots from forming and contributing to another blockage.