When a stroke is suspected, a qualified physician must make sure that it is not due to bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). Once this has been established and the diagnosis of ischemic stroke has been made, it is vital to improve blood flow to the brain as quickly as possible, minimizing brain damage.
Ischemic stroke is most often caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and blood clots are common components of the blood vessel blockage that causes a stroke to occur. Medications designed to prevent blood clots and break up existing clots are used to restore the brain’s blood and oxygen flow.
Aspirin is the first blood-thinning medication that is recommended for people who have an ischemic stroke. According to the American Stroke Association’s Guidelines for the Early Management of Adults with Ischemic Stroke – 2007, aspirin should be given within 24 to 48 hours from the onset of stroke symptoms. Noting the time when symptoms begin and seeking prompt medical care is, therefore, vital.
In many cases additional medication is suggested to break up blood clots that have already formed. Medications dissolve are called thrombolytics or fibrinolytics, and commonly known as “clot busters”. These intravenous the ability help reduce damage brain cells caused by a stroke. order be most effective, agents must given within three hours of stroke onset.>
To prevent additional strokes from occurring, ongoing antiplatelet medication is recommended (Circulation. 2007; 115: 1615-1621). These medications act by keeping blood platelets from sticking together to form a clot. There are a number of different antiplatelet medications, and they are sometimes combined to achieve the best result. Some of these medications may also require periodic blood tests. Your physician will help you choose antiplatelet medications that will provide maximum protection with minimal side effects.