Basics of Cerebrovascular accidents

18 Jul

Legendary CBS newscaster Walter Cronkite, who many referred to as “Uncle Walt,” has passed away, CBS News reports. He was 92 years old. As the CBS anchorman for almost 20 years, he was one of the most trusted faces in the American media. Reports say that he died due to a “cerebro-vascular accident” (also called Stroke) without specifying the exact pathology.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disturbed in some way. As a result, brain cells are starved of oxygen. This causes some cells to die and leaves other cells damaged. Most strokes happen when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries (blood vessels) that carry blood to the brain. This type of stroke is called an ischaemic stroke. Cerebral hemorrhage is when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain and bleeds (hemorrhages). With a hemorrhagic stroke, blood seeps into the brain tissue and causes extra damage.

  • Smokers
  • Irregular heart beat (atrial fibrillation)
  • Diabetes

Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to decreasing mortality due to a stroke. A transient ischemic attack (known as a TIA or ministroke) is similar to a stroke except that, with a TIA, the symptoms go away completely within 24 hours. People who have a TIA are very likely to have a stroke in the near future.

The most common early signs of a CVA are:

  • weakness down one side of the body, ranging from numbness to paralysis that can affect the arm and leg. Often, the weakness starts at a focal point and increases over the next few hours as the hemorrhage increases.
  • weakness down one side of the face, causing the mouth to droop. Speech may become slurry and swallowing becomes difficult.
  • severe headache and sudden loss of vision.
  • confusion, vomiting and loss of balance.

The World Health Organization estimates that 15 million people suffer a stroke worldwide each year, resulting in 5 million deaths and 5 million people permanently disabled.Stroke can occur in patients of all ages, including children. The Risk of stroke increases with age, especially in patients older than 64 years, in whom 75% of all strokes occur. Many people recover completely after a stroke. For others, it can take many months to recover from a stroke. Physical therapy and other retraining methods are greatly improving rehabilitation and recovery.

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Posted by on July 18, 2009 in CVA, health, stroke


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