Cause of approximately every fifth stroke is unknown

Every fifth stroke remains a mystery

Each year, more than a quarter of a million people in Germany suffer a stroke. Most of the cerebral infarcts traced back to diseases of the vessels or the cardiovascular system. But for about every fifth stroke, the cause remains in the dark.

One of the most common causes of death in this country

According to health experts, around 270,000 German citizens suffer each year from a stroke. This is one of the most common causes of death in Germany. Much of the so-called brain attacks traced back to diseases of the vessels or of the cardiovascular system such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, or deposits in the carotid arteries. However, at about 20 to 30 percent of brain infarcts, the cause remains in the dark. Doctors then speak of a “crypto-genes stroke”, reports the German heart Foundation in a recent communication.

Cryptogenic strokes are not less serious

Cryptogenic strokes are usually less severe, and leave less permanent damage than those in which the cause can be clarified.

“A total of cryptogenic strokes have a better prognosis than seizures with a known cause,” explains Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Meinertz from the Scientific Advisory Board of the German heart Foundation in the current edition of the heart Foundation’s magazine HEART TODAY.

However, you are not likely to be taken less seriously, because here, too, the lack of supply of a brain area supplied due to a narrowed or blocked brain blood leads to vessel permanent brain damage, such as the cardiologist from Hamburg emphasized.

“Therefore, it should be called at every stroke with the emergency number 112, the ambulance, the affected Person in a clinic with a stroke unit,” says Meinertz.

“Whether it is a precursor of stroke in the Form of a transitory ischemic attack, in short, TIA, or a stroke kryptogener cause can only be made through the following diagnostics to be clarified.”

Heart defect as possible causes

The heart Foundation explains, depending on the age of different reasons for a crypto-genes of stroke in consideration.

In younger patients between the ages of 16 and 30 years of congenital heart not to put rare error behind it – in particular the open or persistent Foramen ovale, short-PFO.

In this heart defect, the septum between the right and the left atrium is not properly sealed (hole in the heart).

This favors the formation of blood clots, which can enter into the brain and a stroke.

“About half of the patients with the diagnosis ,kryptogener stroke’, which are younger than 60 years, have a PFO,” says Meinertz.

Between the ages of 31 and 60 years of acquired heart disease as a cause of the crypto-genes stroke a greater role. This can be, for example, cardiac defects or cardiomyopathies, i.e., valvular heart disease muscle.

Atrial fibrillation is often not detected

In older stroke patients more than 60 years, atrial fibrillation is a common cause of crypto-genes stroke.

If the heart rhythm disturbance occurs only seizure, it is diagnose, but difficult to find and is not often recognized as a cause.

“In elderly patients with a stroke, supposedly of unknown cause should always be systematically searched for bouts of atrial fibrillation,” says Meinertz.

The proof was, however, often only with elaborate diagnostics is possible, such as with repeated, long-term ECG, or the use of the “Event recorders” that allow continuous monitoring of the heart rate.

In atrial fibrillation can easily form blood clots in the heart-Atria. Enter this into the brain and clog a artery, it comes to a stroke.

Many patients with a heart rhythm disorder, therefore, take anticoagulant medications, a stroke to prevent.

Stroke-warning signs in the early detection of emergency dial 112

Not only heart patients should be recognize the symptoms and also potential harbingers of a stroke in a timely manner.

Often individual symptoms to occur days or weeks before disappearing again after a few minutes.

The German heart Foundation, explains what warning signs may indicate a stroke or him announce:

  • Paralysis in an Arm, leg or one half of the face
  • Difficulty Speaking
  • Sudden onset of blurred vision
  • Sudden severe headache

Anyone who noticed any of these symptoms, should not hesitate, but act quickly and the emergency call dial 112.

To avoid important rules to a stroke

At least as important as quick Action in the acute case, the prevention is. For this, health experts have summarised the most important rules:

Of existing hypertension must be treated. Also other risk factors such as type 2 Diabetes, atrial fibrillation, lipid disorders and high cholesterol must be prevented values.

Obesity as well as Stress can be avoided. Is recommended regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.

Alcohol should only be used rarely and in small quantities consumed. From Smoking is completely discouraged.

Existing heart arrhythmias should be treated medically. (ad)