What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or severely reduced, cutting off oxygen and nutrients and thus causing the brain cells to die. Neurologists are medical specialists who see patients who have suffered a stroke.
What are the symptoms of stroke?
The symptoms of a stroke may include any of the following:
● Difficulty speaking and understanding speech.
● Sudden onset of numbness, paralysis or weakness in the face, arm, leg, or one side of the body.
● Blurred, blackened or double vision.
● Severe headache and nausea.
● Loss of coordination and balance, leading to trouble walking.
What causes a stroke?
There are two main types of strokes:
– Ischemic stroke. This is the most common type of stroke and is caused when arteries to the brain become blocked or congested, reducing the blood flow to the brain.
– Hemorrhagic stroke. This is caused when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts, and is often the result of uncontrolled high blood pressure or an aneurysm.
Did you know?
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and first leading cause of disability in Singapore.¹
What are the possible complications of a stroke?
Strokes can differ in severity and the same may said for any possible complications, which can be either temporary or permanent in nature. Some of the potential complications of a stroke are listed below:
● Paralysis or lack of use of certain muscles (such as in the face, arm, or leg).
● Difficulty in speaking, swallowing, or eating.
● Trouble understanding speech, reading, or writing.
● Memory loss.
● Loss of ability to think, reason, make judgements, or solve problems.
● Pain such as tingling sensations in the extremities.
● Changes in mood and behaviour.
When should I or my loved one see a specialist for stroke treatment?
You or your loved ones should see a specialist urgently if any symptoms of a stroke are in evidence. Immediate professional advice is recommended even if symptoms seem to fluctuate or disappear. Early medical attention is necessary to limit the potentially serious and sometimes life-threatening consequences of a stroke.
How should I or my loved one prepare for the appointment?
If you or your loved one require an appointment with a neurologist, be sure to prepare the following information in advance:
● A complete personal medical history of the patient and their family, with particular attention on heart disease or strokes.
● A list of current medications.
● A detailed description of symptoms and their severity.
● Any questions or concerns.
Once your specialist has discussed these elements with you and your loved one, he or she will perform a thorough physical examination, measure the blood pressure, listen to the heart and check the eyes for any evidence of blood clots.
How do specialists diagnose a stroke?
Specialists diagnose a stroke with the help of a number of different diagnostic tests and tools. As well as a physical examination, your doctor may order blood tests, a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound, as well as an echocardiogram or a cerebral angiogram. Once the diagnosis of stroke is confirmed, a personalised treatment plan will be established and put into action. Your doctor will explain each step and accompany you or your loved one on this journey of care and recovery.
What treatments are available for stroke?
Treatment will depend on the type of stroke diagnosed. For an ischemic stroke, the main objective is to unblock the clogged artery. Medication is urgently required to thin the blood and reduce the risk of further clots forming. In the case of a hemorrhagic stroke, the priority is on medication to control the bleeding and reduce the pressure on the brain. Surgery may also be required. Your doctor will explain all the treatment and care options available and advise you on the best plan of action.Request an appointment with a neurologist today.
 Sun Y, Lee SH, Heng BH, Chin VS. 5-year survival and rehospitalization due to stroke recurrence among patients with hemorrhagic or ischemic strokes in Singapore. BMC Neurol. 2013 Oct 3;13:133. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-13-133.