A wife's husband just had a stroke. The doctors inform the wife they gave him an anticoagulant, but she doesn't understand why he is also started on a calcium channel blocker and oxygen. Why is this?
A stroke is essentially a sudden stoppage of blood flow in the brain. A variety of factors can cause it, such as a blockage inside the blood vessel or a hemorrhage. What's important in terms of treatment is the fact that the brain has been without an adequate supply of blood for some time. While many body functions display a remarkable degree of endurance when it comes to life-threatening conditions, the brain is extremely sensitive to a lack of oxygen; only minutes can result in permanent brain damage or death.
Restoring as much oxygen as possible to the "starved" brain is crucial to minimizing the effects of the stroke. This is the purpose of putting the husband on oxygen; it's sort of like supercharging his blood with nutrients.
The calcium channel blockers are a little more complicated. Calcium channels are openings in the cell which are specially designed to admit calcium ions. When these ions enter the cell, a variety of effects are produced depending upon the identity of the cell, but in general they're associated with tension, such as muscle contractions. CCBs literally block the openings in the cell, preventing the ions from entering, and preventing the body from tensing. This leads to a slower heart rate, softer heart contractions, and artery dilation.
Combined with the anticoagulant, the effect is to "soften" the rush of blood into a slow and steady stream of hyper-oxygenated blood.
There are different causes of a stroke which will affect which medications and treatments are used. Although a stroke is a disruption of blood flow to a part of a brain, usually due to a blood clot, the cause can vary. It could be a blood clot in the brain due to an injury for example, a blood clot in the arteries of the heart that has traveled to the brain or even high blood pressure.
The purpose of the anticoagulant is to break up any other blood clots that may have formed and prevent the development of new ones which can result in another stroke.
Oxygen is a common treatment used in cases of poor blood circulation, like strokes.
The calcium channel blocker is a high blood pressure medication, meaning that the stroke is mostly likely due to high blood pressure, heart attack or clogged cardiac arteries.
He could have had undiagnosed or even diagnosed hypertension which led to the stroke.The Calcium Channel blocker will also lower your blood pressure decreasing the force of blood against the arteries especially in the brain.