PULMONARY COMPLICATIONS OF A STROKE
When the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or constricted, the brain can be deprived of oxygen and nutrients leading to the death of brain cells. This is known as a stroke and is a medical emergency in need of prompt treatment to prevent paralysis, memory loss, brain damage, speech impediment and self-care ability, including feeding. When self-care abilities are compromised due to a stroke, a feeding tube may be necessary. These feeding tubes often cause pulmonary complications, the most common of which is Pneumonia.
WHAT CAUSES A STROKE?
Deprived of oxygenated blood, the brain cells can die within minutes causing temporary or possibly permanent disabilities, depending on how long the brain the brain was deprived and which part was affected.
There are two main types of strokes, ischemic strokes and haemorrhagic strokes.
Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots. Clots can form in the neck or brain due to plaque build-up in the arteries (caused by cholesterol), or they can form in a part of the body and travel to the brain, blocking a small blood vessel. Ischemic strokes can sometimes be a warning in the form of a mini-stroke where the stroke is temporary; these are called transient ischemic attacks. In other cases, these strokes are not warnings, and the symptoms are more severe.
A hemorrhagic stroke, on the other hand, occurs when a weakened blood vessel in the brain (known as an aneurysm) bursts and bleeds in the brain. This puts pressure on the blood cells and surrounding tissue, cutting off their blood supply. The blood vessels can be weakened by chronic high blood pressure.
WHAT ARE THE PULMONARY COMPLICATIONS THAT MAY OCCUR AFTER A STROKE?
Following a severe ischemic stroke, in which a patient has been admitted to the intensive care unit, a feeding tube may be necessary if self-care abilities have been affected by the damage to the brain. Depending on the on the severity of the stroke and the area of the brain that has been damaged, breathing control, respiratory mechanics and breathing patterns may be affected leading to gas exchange abnormalities and in some cases, require mechanical ventilation. Problems in the airways and lungs are common after a stroke. These may include sleep apnoea, venous thromboembolism, swallowing abnormalities, aspiration and pneumonia - stroke-related pneumonia being the most common.
Stroke-related pneumonia often causes fevers within 48 hours of the stroke and is the most common reason for readmission in stroke survivors up to 5 years after a stroke. As a Specialist Physician, Dr Kenaope has expertise in the treatment of stroke-related pneumonia and management of stroke survivors with pulmonary complications.
OCCUPATIONAL LUNG DISEASE
In many of the occupational fields, workers are exposed to various hazardous fumes, dust and particles that can cause allergic diseases, irritant asthma, lung and pleural diseases and chronic pulmonary diseases. Depending on the occupational field, he may assist in the prevention of these chronic conditions as well as comprehensive treatment of these pulmonary conditions. As a Specialist Physician with extensive knowledge of pulmonary conditions, Dr Kenaope has experience in occupational lung diseases such as tuberculosis and silicosis in the South African mining industry and other industries.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON OCCUPATIONAL LUNG DISEASES IN SOUTH AFRICA?
Among the mining industry, lung diseases such as tuberculosis and silicosis are common due to the nature of the occupation. The small spaces mean that TB infection, reactivation and re-infection are common among miners and the silica dust inhalation leads to lung fibrosis, otherwise known as Silicosis. Often, these conditions are accompanied by HIV which leads to an increased susceptibility to these lung diseases.
Other industrial, manufacturing and agricultural occupations are also at risk of inhalation of dust, fumes and chemicals that lead to asthma, allergic diseases, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the same way as mining, the nature of the occupation also leads to a high prevalence of Tuberculosis.
With his expertise, Dr Kenaope may assist in the treatment and management of these lung diseases as well as their symptoms and complications for the rest of the body. By taking the entire well-being of the patient into account, your overall health and prevention of lung cancer is a priority for him.