The CDC says that a stroke happens when something blocks the blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.
Verywell Health’s recent article entitled “Everything You Should Know About Stroke” explains that diagnostic tests for stroke include the following:
- Brain imaging: A brain computed tomography (CT) scan frequently will spot the blood of a hemorrhagic stroke within the first hours of bleeding. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can identify an ischemic stroke’s early, subtle changes.
- Angiogram: This angiogram test looks at the blood vessels. Angiograms of the cerebral vessels can include computed tomography angiogram (CTA) or magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA). These tests can pinpoint structural irregularities or blood clots in the brain’s blood vessels.
- Blood tests: while a stroke isn’t diagnosed with a blood test, it can identify stroke risk factors, like high cholesterol or diabetes.
- Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG): This is a fast, noninvasive test that examines heart rhythm. It can identify abnormalities associated with an irregular heart rhythm, heart attack, or heart failure.
- Echocardiogram: This test is noninvasive and looks at the structure and movement of the heart. It can detect heart problems that increase the risk of stroke.
- Carotid ultrasound: This noninvasive test examines the neck arteries leading to the brain. Narrowing or disease of these arteries can cause a stroke.
Sometimes brain imaging tests also detect previous asymptomatic (without symptoms) strokes.
Effective stroke care begins with a prompt assessment to determine the type of stroke, followed by rapid treatment.
Medical stabilization is needed for all types of strokes and includes maintaining optimal blood pressure, blood sugar and fluids.
Verywell Health (Feb. 27, 2023) “Everything You Should Know About Stroke”