Your doctor is right. Weakness on one side of the body does not necessarily suggest the occurrence of a stroke. Many other possibilities can be responsible for such symptoms. Other conditions that may present with similar symptoms of stroke are: brain tumors, brain abscess, bleeding in the brain either spontaneously or from trauma, meningitis or encephalitis, an overdose of certain medications or electrolyte imbalance. Please go for detailed investigations to know whether it was a stroke.
The main diagnostic tests that are done to diagnose Stroke are-
Computerized tomography(CT scan )- used to look for bleeding, masses or lesions within the brain.
MRI scan:. The MRI images are more detailed than those from CT. While a CT scan may be completed within a few minutes, an MRI may take more than an hour to complete. So MRI is usually performed later in the course of patient care if finer details are required for further investigations. People with some medical devices for example, pacemakers or other metals within their body, cannot be subjected to the powerful magnetic field of an MRI. Other tests that help in diagnosis are-
MRA (magnetic resonance angiogram), Computerized tomography with angiography, Conventional angiogram, Carotid Doppler ultrasound, Heart tests, Blood tests to detect inflammation of the arteries. Please consult a neurologist to know the investigations you must undergo for diagnosis.
The measures that can be adopted for Stroke prevention are-
Risk factor reduction-
The most important risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. When a person's blood pressure is consistently high, greater than 130/85, the risk of a stroke increases in proportion to the blood pressure elevation. Controlling blood pressure to the normal range always decreases the chances of a stroke.
Smoking: Another important risk factor is smoking. Cigarettes cause the carotid arteries to develop severe atherosclerosis, which can block the blood flow to the brain. Atherosclerosis in general, is accelerated by smoking.
Diabetes: Diabetes is another risk factor for developing a stroke. It causes the small vessels to close prematurely. When the small blood vessels close in the brain, small strokes or lacunar strokes may occur.
Blood thinner/warfarin:. Warfarin (Coumadin) is a blood thinner that prevents the blood from clotting. This medication is often used in patients with atrial fibrillation and with other heart conditions in which the blood has a tendency to clot on its own. Patients taking warfarin need to have periodic blood checks to make sure that their current dose is producing the desired effect and whether they are at increased risk for bleeding, either externally or internally.
Aspirin and other antiplatelet therapy: Many stroke patients who do not require warfarin can use antiplatelet drugs to reduce their risk of suffering another stroke. These medicines reduce the tendency of the blood to clot in the arteries. Patients on these medicines usually have a higher likelihood of bleeding, but the risk is less than when on anticoagulant like warfarin.
Carotid endarterectomy: mostly a TIA or a stroke is caused by the narrowing or ulceration of the carotid arteries (the major arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain). If left untreated, patients with these conditions have a high risk of getting a major stroke in the future. An operation that cleans out the carotid artery and restores normal blood flow is usually performed and is known as a carotid endarterectomy. This procedure has been shown to markedly reduce the incidence of a subsequent stroke.
Please discuss these measures with a cardiologist and neurologist. Hope this helps you. Take care and regards!