The treatment for stroke includes drugs, surgery and rehabilitation.
The most important drugs
to prevent or treat stroke are anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. These agents prevent the formation of blood clots that may become lodged in an artery causing strokes. Antiplatelet drugs prevent clotting by decreasing the activity of platelets or blood cells that contribute to the clotting. The most widely used antiplatelet drug is aspirin
. Others include clopidogrel
. Anticoagulants reduce stroke risk by reducing the clotting property of the blood. The most commonly used are warfarin
. Thrombolytic agents are used to treat acute ischaemic strokes caused by the blockage of a blood vessel. These drugs halt the stroke by dissolving the blood clot that is blocking the blood flow to the brain. Neuroprotectants are drugs that protect the brain from secondary injuries caused by stroke. Surgery
may be done to prevent stroke, to treat acute stroke or to repair blood vessel malformations in and around the brain. There are two types of surgery for stroke prevention and treatment: carotid endarterectomy and extracranial / intracranial bypass (EC/IC bypass).
Carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure in which fatty deposits (plaques) from the inside of one of the carotid arteries (located in the neck and supplying blood to the brain) are removed.
EC/IC bypass surgery is a procedure that restores blood flow to a blood-deprived area of brain tissue by rerouting a healthy artery in the scalp to the area of brain tissue affected by a blocked artery.
Clipping involves clamping off the aneurysm from the main blood vessel, which reduces the chance that it will burst and bleed. Post-Stroke Rehabilitation
- Physical therapy aims at relearning walking, sitting, lying down and switching from one type of movement to another. The physical therapist uses training and exercises to help restore movement, balance and coordination to the affected person.
- Occupational therapy aims at developing self-help skills in the person so that he becomes independent in taking care of himself.
- Speech therapy focuses on relearning speech and language skills.
- Psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, frustration and anger are common post-stroke disabilities. Talk therapy along with appropriate medication can help alleviate some of the mental and emotional problems that result from stroke.