What Is A Stroke Specialist And What Do They Do?

There are many types of doctors. Some specialize in diagnosis and patient care, while some focus on the more specific aspects of treatment. With years of study and training, stroke specialists have the competence to handle anything that relates to stroke.

stroke experts

There are many types of doctors. Some specialize in diagnosis and patient care, while some focus on the more specific aspects of treatment. A stroke specialist is a doctor that has expertise in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of stroke. With years of study and training, they have the competence to handle anything that relates to stroke.


Stroke: An Overview

Stroke is a life-threatening condition when a part of the brain fails to receive an adequate blood supply. A person going through the challenges of stroke must receive urgent treatment to prevent any severe damages.

Types of stroke

There are three possible classifications of stroke:

  • Ischemic Stroke

An ischemic stroke is the most common stroke type, occurring in more than eighty percent of the stroke occurrences. During an ischemic stroke, a person experiences a disruption of blood flow within the arteries responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood. In most cases, a blood clot is liable to cause this blockage.

  • Hemorrhagic Stroke

As its name describes, a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is blood leakage within the artery. The rupture causes an increase in blood pressure, causing damages to the brain cells. Aneurysms and high blood pressure are the most common conditions that could lead to hemorrhagic stroke.

  • Transient Ischemic Stroke

This type of stroke is less severe than the other types of stroke. In a transient ischemic attack, blood flowing through the brain becomes blocked for a short time, no longer than five minutes. It is often called a “mini-stroke” and is a warning sign of a stroke to happen in the future.


Stroke treatment

Stroke treatment depends on the type of stroke that you have. Your doctor will also consider several aspects, such as the brain’s affected part and its cause.

Specific medications that prevent and dissolve clumps of blood, lower blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol levels are the usual treatments required by the doctor. Aside from medicines, a stroke specialist may perform surgical procedures to remove any form of blood clots. A general surgeon must use sterilized tools to prevent bacterial exposure and infection. A successful operation reduces the risk of swelling and bleeding.

After the operation, your specialist will identify the necessary stroke rehabilitation procedures needed for recovery. They may refer a physical therapist to allow re-adapting to your previous skills.


Who Are Stroke Specialists?

stroke healthcare providers

There are many types of stroke specialists, and there is one significant reason behind it. Stroke management is a very delicate and crucial procedure requiring a team of highly-trained professionals to have a successful treatment. A comprehensive approach must be devoted to every step of the way to avoid complications and other mistakes.

Here are some stroke specialists and how each expertise is crucial in the management of stroke:


Neurologists are physicians that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment involving the brain and spinal cord. They are also knowledgeable of the conditions that relate to the central and peripheral nervous systems.


Clinical neurophysiologists are also neurologists. However, they focus more on the identification of disorders found through bioelectrical activity. Neurophysiologists perform tests to evaluate brain and nerve function. These include Electromyography (EMG) and Electroencephalography (EEG).


Neuroradiologists specialize in various imaging and scans such as x-rays, ultrasound, radio waves, and magnetic fields. They also have adequate training to interpret and read results from different CAT scans and MRIs.


Neurosurgeons have sub-specializations of neurology and general surgery. They focus on the various surgical procedures particular to the nervous system. Neurosurgeons undergo additional studies and training that encompasses the brain, peripheral nerves, spinal cord, and cerebrovascular system.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

These are physicians with expertise in stroke rehabilitation. They help restore a stroke patient’s quality of life and encouraging recovery by bringing back their functional ability.

Vascular Neurologists

Vascular neurologists specialize in vascular and cerebrovascular diseases of the central nervous system. They are experts in the management of stroke and other related conditions.


What Makes a Stroke Specialist?

To be a stroke specialist, a doctor must acquire proficiency with the three major stroke management areas. These include stroke rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention. Aside from that, a stroke specialist should meet the following criteria:

  1. A stroke specialist must have a complete training course for new specialists and recognizable expertise for existing practitioners.
  2. You must have an active involvement in stroke rehabilitation and management.
  3. Stroke specialists must annually participate in at least one conference involving stroke training and any national audits thereof.
  4. You must be an adequate candidate for participating in training and basic research studies.
  5. You must maintain units sufficient to prove continuing professional development within the field.


Other Healthcare Professionals Needed for Stroke Management

Other than a stroke specialist, several medical professionals help in the treatment and recovery of stroke. These include the following:

Stroke rehabilitationPhysical Therapists

A physical therapist helps in the improvement of the functional mobility and skills of a stroke patient. They prepare rehabilitation plans and teach the patient the necessary exercises to regain independence in their movements.

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists focus on boosting a patient’s capacity to perform daily tasks such as eating, bathing, and dressing. Unlike physical therapists, an occupational therapist will demonstrate and teach patients the proper techniques in using therapeutic aids. Grab bars, shower benches, and toilet seats are some of the examples of medicinal aids. This equipment is necessary to allow the patient to perform their day-to-day activities independently.

Speech and Language Therapists

A speech and language therapist establish a patient’s communication, speech, language, and oral skills. They provide treatment plans that would allow their patient to regain the strength to talk, hear, swallow, and other related concerns. Stroke patients often experience slurry speech, difficulty in eating, and other oral impairments after treatment. A speech and language therapist will help find the best ways to treat this condition.


Final Thoughts

Stroke specialists are essential in the management and prevention of stroke. They ensure appropriate treatment and rehabilitation procedures to provide successful medical care. If you happen to experience a stroke or know someone who does, it is essential to talk to a stroke specialist as soon as possible.

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