A stroke which originates in the brain stem is referred to as brain stem stroke. It can be fatal at times, since our brain controls many of our daily activities; like, breathing, heart rate, swallowing, hearing, and maintains blood pressure, body temperature, and regulates the sweat glands and sleep pattern. Early prognosis - almost always - leads to timely treatment. It is essential for the patient to be treated within hours of the stroke. In severe cases, however, the patient is meted with immediate treatment, there are chances of the patient dying, entering into coma or requiring life-support systems for survival.
When sudden death of a number of brain cells occur, there are chances of a stroke hitting the person. Clotting of blood in the brain, bleeding in the brain, and other interruptions of blood supply to the brain are some characteristics of brain stem stroke. In some cases, brain stem injury can also be a cause of this. The cells die within minutes after the blood supply is interrupted. It is because blood supplies oxygen to the brain, which in turn clears the toxic wastes, and keeps the supply flowing smoothly.
The symptoms vary according to the location of the brain stroke. The patients affected with such a stroke experience dizziness, an about-to-fall feeling, and slurred speech. The patient may also experience an interruption in some important functions; like, breathing, and some of them may also enter the locked-in state. This is a kind of paralysis. Mentioned below is a detailed account of symptoms that indicate a brain stem stroke:
Paralysis: After the attack of brain stem stroke, patients may experience partial, or complete paralysis. This can either be temporary or permanent in nature. If the stroke takes place at the right side of the brain, the left part would be paralyzed; however, if it takes place at the left, the right side would be paralyzed.
Locked-in Syndrome: A condition where the motor cells are affected - courtesy the severing of signals insinuated by the brain toward the motor cells - leading to paralysis; however, the individual concerned is able to receive stimuli, only to respond by means of eye, or jaw movement.
Coma: If the breathing, and heart rate is impaired, the patient can enter into a state of coma. The period for which the patient stays in coma depends, on the extent of damage.
Speaking Difficulty: The patient may experience troubles while articulating. The speech is slurred and distorted, marked by confusion. Swallowing is also experienced while enduring a brain stem stroke.
Vertigo: Another symptom causing nausea and dizziness, vertigo is also accompanied with a severe headache.
Insomnia: Characterized by disturbed sleep patterns, it leaves you feeling restless, and listless.
Ataxia: The most common symptom is difficulty in movement.
Nystagmus: It is the uncontrolled movement of eyes accompanied with dizziness, and nausea.
The blood supply should be reverted to normal, and the blood supply ought to reach every part of the brain, including the section where the damaged cells are present. If the stroke is very severe, and has progressed rapidly, care may be the only possible treatment. In some cases, the patients may recover; however, some parts of his/her body may endure impairment. In such cases, physical therapy is proven helpful. In extremely severe cases, the patient may require supportive medical equipment; like, a ventilator for his/her survival. At times, it drastically impairs the health of a person.
Strokes, sometimes, progress at a very rapid rate, proving dangerous as well. Hence, if someone experiences symptoms of brain stem stroke, an emergency call for medical intervention is stringently advised. Remember: This can happen to anyone, and there is no specific precautionary measure to avoid the condition.