Q:

How do doctors diagnose strokes?

A:

Quick Answer

A stroke is often diagnosed by taking the patient's medical history, noting the symptoms and ordering various tests. A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when blood flow to the brain is compromised, notes MedlinePlus.

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Full Answer

When veins that carry blood to the brain are blocked or broken, a stroke is quite likely. This is because the cells in the part of the brain deprived of oxygenated-blood begin to die within a few seconds. Strokes affect an estimated 795,000 Americans every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To diagnose this condition, doctors often look at the various signs and symptoms that accompany the condition. A medical history is often recorded to ensure accuracy and inform treatment options. A physical examination of the individual may reveal more regarding the particular incident of stroke.

To ascertain the extent of the stroke, doctors often order a computerized tomography to determine the extent of damage to brain tissue. A cerebral angiogram is equally used to put things into better perspective. Other tests that may help ascertain the situation include magnetic resonance imaging, blood tests, echocardiogram and carotid ultrasound.

Treatment of stroke may involve medications to burst blood clots and thin blood. Certain emergency procedures to remove clots or stop bleeding may be effective in management of this condition.

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