|Raise your hands if you or your family have experienced a stroke. It’s a medical event so harmful that it can cause permanent disability or death.
So, what is a Stroke? Stroke is a medical emergency which disturbs the oxygen supply to the brain. There are two main types of strokes: Ischemic and hemorrhagic. To understand these you need to understand blood. You see, blood is made of different components. One of the components is the Red Blood Cells which carry oxygen and transport it to the body organs so that can work properly. Blood also contains Platelets which heals wound by making a clot to stop bleeding.
In ischemic stroke, platelets and some fatty proteins form a clot which blocks or disrupts the blood flow. Ischemic stroke has to be treated by removing the clot from the blood vessel. The clot doesn’t go away naturally. In hemorrhagic stroke, the blood vessel of your brain breaks which spills blood in the surrounding organs and tissues.
Stroke affects the body’s nervous system as well as the circulatory system. The interruption in blood flow causes a delay in the oxygen supply of the organs. This stops the return journey of the CO2 molecules so that it can be exhaled. Not to mention the neurons and brain are affected by these leaks and clots. Lack of oxygen causes the sensory receptors to detect stimuli. The coordination of the heart and the brain is disturbed by this emergency which affects the senses and motor skills of the patient.
Stroke can have a huge social impact. Stroke is one of the leading cause of mortality in some countries and is the main reason for disability. STroke often affects a person’s communication, thinking and motor skills. They usually last for a while, have a bad side effect on the quality of the life of the patient. Besides affecting the patient, stroke also places a heavy emotional burden on the caregivers of patients with stroke. Stroke Treatment is also expensive. For example, in the United States, the medical and nonmedical costs of caring for stroke patients during the first year is about $50,000/patient.
Strokes can be treated with surgery. Hemorrhagic stroke can be treated by surgical clipping and coiling. In ischemic strokes, if you have arrived within 3 hours of the emergency, the doctor can give you tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA). This can dissolve the clot and allow blood to flow smoothly. The doctor can also opt for riskier options like physical removal of the clot. But after 3 hours, a stem cell transplantation can be done. The doctor can insert stem cells which will regenerate new tissues.
However, stem cell transplantation has a lot of controversies. Stem cells transplantation of cells like embryonic stem cells can destroy human blastocyst. This stops the fertilized egg in women to develop. Also, this treatment can be used to make mutants by transplanting human cells in animals. This can be dangerous and life-threatening for both us and those animals.