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Stroke on the Rise: Symptoms and Causes to Act in Time

We Review this Cerebrovascular Disease: How to Detect it and What is its Relationship with COVID-19

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LatinAmerican Post | David Rivadeneira Soto

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Although it is a difficult subject to understand and explain if we are not within the medical field, it is necessary to know more about cerebrovascular infarction, also known as stroke. For this reason, we explain its symptoms, causes, the reasons why it seems to be increasing and some possible relationship with COVID-19. Above all, it is important to know that it is, to a large extent, preventable and that with timely detection of its manifestations in the body and timely professional care, its worst effects can be counteracted.

First of all, you need to define it. The Spanish Society of Neurology, in its Guide for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Stroke, reminds us that this refers to a disorder that alters blood circulation in the brain, permanently or temporarily affecting the normal functioning of one or several parts of the brain. That is, all the parts that are inside the skull and make up the control of the central nervous system. A characteristic of stroke is its sudden condition, hence its name, which comes from Latin and means blow or attack.

Symptoms and causes How to detect it?

There are several detrimental effects on people who do have a stroke. The main risk is that by limiting the arrival of blood to the brain, neuronal damage occurs. There are two types of stroke. One is ischemic, in which the supply of blood to the brain is interrupted by some obstruction in the blood vessels. The other is hemorrhagic, which, on the contrary, is due to the rupture of a cerebral vein or artery.

There are some symptoms or red flags that warn of the possible occurrence of a stroke and that allow, if detected in time, to prevent the greatest damage that this disease can bring to those who suffer from it.

The warnings that the body gives and that can lead to suspect that a stroke is happening in a person are of various types. Some are caused in the language: the inability to speak at the time of interacting in a conversation, understand and even not be able to articulate words. Another difficulty in language occurs when you can speak, but you are not able to build logical and coherent sentences, the person expresses himself, but in a confused way.

Other symptoms occur in the normal capacity for mobility. By affecting the neurons, the brain's connection with the issuance of orders to the muscles can be lost. This can translate to numbness in the arms or legs and difficulty moving them. Also, another frequent symptom is that loss of mobility and sensitivity is generated on one side of the body, losing strength and response to external stimuli; The side of the body that is affected will depend on the region of the brain that is suffering from the attack.

Another warning that can be added is the affectation of sight, which by itself can be derived from other disorders, but together with the previous ones it is a clear alert. The most alarming red flag is when the mouth is twisted, the patient cannot move normally. Other warnings that are just as delicate are more cognitive in nature, such as disorientation in space and time. In addition, not knowing what the date is, feeling confused, losing balance or memory are also sirens that warn that a stroke is occurring.

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Covid-19 and stroke

The medical sciences journal ScienceDirect has published several studies, since the appearance of Covid-19, about the possible relationship and affectation between the SARS-CoV-2 virus and cerebral infarction or stroke. One of the studies that analyzes this connection, by doctors Galán and Trejo, neurologists who are members of the Spanish Society of Neurology, reveals that “having a history of stroke increases the risk of dying from COVID-19 by 3 times.” However, in the opposite direction, the researchers say that "at this time stroke does not seem to be one of the main complications of COVID-19."

Another study published in the same journal, entitled "Ischemic stroke and SARS-CoV-2 infection, casual or causal association?" indicates in its conclusions that there are some factors of Covid-19 that can affect stroke, specifically the ischemic type. "The systemic inflammation, together with the possible direct action of the virus, would cause endothelial dysfunction, generating a state of hypercoagulability that could be considered a potential cause of ischemic stroke." It informs the scientific article, but makes the clarification about the need for more studies to evaluate the weight of this theory.