Suffered a stroke? Here are what you should ask your doctor, according to the Department of Neurology, Singapore General Hospital..
The answers are based on general principles. You should get specific answers from your doctor who knows your clinical condition in detail.
1. What kind of stroke do I have?
There are two main types of stroke. The more common, called ischaemic stroke, is caused by the blockage of a blood vessel supplying the brain. Less common is the haemorrhagic stroke, which is usually due to the bursting of a blood vessel in the brain.
2. What are the symptoms a stroke patient may have?
The symptoms depend on the location of the stroke, and vary between individuals. They commonly include weakness and/or numbness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking or swallowing, drooping of the face, giddiness and lack of coordination.
3. Can I recover from my stroke?
The prognosis following stroke depends on the type and location of the stroke as well as on many patient factors. In general, 10 per cent of patients recover almost completely, 25 per cent will have minor impairments, 40 per cent will have moderate impairments requiring some assistance, 10 per cent will have severe impairments and will be completely dependent, and 15 per cent will die from the stroke, or shortly after.
4. When does stroke recovery start and end?
Stroke recovery is very variable. Some individuals improve in the first few minutes after a stroke but this is usually not the case. For most individuals, recovery is slow and happens gradually over a period of months. Improvements can be seen up to one year after the stroke onset.
5. What acute treatments can be considered?
The care of stroke patients in a specialised stroke unit with trained personnel has been shown to improve outcomes.
For ischaemic stroke patients who come to the hospital early, a clot-busting treatment may be considered within 4.5 hours from onset. Medications to reduce the stickiness of blood (anti-platelets) have also been shown to be beneficial in the acute phase.
For haemorrhagic stroke, surgery may be indicated in some situations. Control of blood pressure is also important.