CVA: Stroke Information You Should Know

CVA: Stroke Information You Should Know

CVA: Stroke Information You Should Know Medical Terminology – Online March 4th, 2012 Abstract A cerebrovascular attack, more commonly known as a stroke, occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked, also known as an ischemic stroke, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, known as a hemorrhagic stroke. Symptoms are sudden and include, but are not limited to, numbness in the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body, confusion, and problems with normal actions such as speaking and/or walking.

The different range of symptoms may also depend on he area damaged by the stroke, as different areas of the brain control different areas of the body. Risk factors cannot always be controlled, which makes this condition hard to prevent and treat. This condition affects approximately 795,000 people in the United States each year alone, with more than 140,000 of these cases ending in death. (The Internet Stroke Center, 2012). With statistics like these, stroke is a health problem we must try everything to prevent, regardless of race, age or physical wellbeing.

According to the World Health Organization, “fifteen million people suffer from troke worldwide each year. Of these, five million die and another five million are permanently disabled” (The Internet Stroke Center, 2012). These statistics indicate a need for more education in the prevention and treatment of this life-changing condition. Stroke affects many people and their families worldwide with fatal or life- long damaging effects. For those who are fortunate enough to survive an attack, life will inevitably change drastically, from possible loss of limb use, dieting changes, rehabilitation, and even unintentional family strain.

For these reasons, and many ore, it is crucial to actively work at avoiding this condition for the health and well- being of ourselves and our surrounding loved ones. To begin with, there are two types of stroke. The first is called an ischemic stroke. This type of stroke is caused by a clot which blocks the blood flow through an artery to a certain area of the brain. These arteries traveling to the brain carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from the heart and lungs. Without this essential blood supply to this area of the brain, permanent tissue damage will start to occur within as little as a few minutes.

The clot that causes an ischemic stroke may have one of two sources. These two variations are called thrombotic and embolic ischemic strokes. With a thrombotic ischemic stroke, a clot is formed within the brain, usually at the site of the actual blockage. This type of ischemic stroke makes up for almost 50% of all stroke types that occur. As for an embolic ischemic stroke, this happens when a clot originates elsewhere in the body, travels through the artery and becomes lodged from the heart and will travel until they become stuck, restricting blood flow to the brain and causing almost immediate physical and mental changes.

The second type of stroke is called a hemorrhagic stroke. In this instance, an artery in the brain leaks or bursts causing bleeding inside or around the brain. These occur less often, however, they also have a higher mortality rate than an ischemic stroke. There are two different types of hemorrhagic stroke: intracerebral and subarachnoid. In intracerebral hemorrhage strokes, a diseased blood vessel within the brain busts, allowing blood to leak within the brain. This causes a sudden increase in brain pressure and will cause irreversible damage to surrounding brain cells.

This increased brain pressure can then lead to unconsciousness and very likely even death. As for subarachnoid hemorrhage strokes, a blood vessel surrounding the brain ruptures, filling the “subarachnoid” space with blood. The subarachnoid space of the brain is the area between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater. As with intracerebral stroke, this sudden pressure buildup can also cause loss of consciousness or even death. It is very obvious that with any of these forms of stroke, the sooner medical attention is sought, the better. Any delay in treatment could ean the difference between life and death.

The symptoms for each different type of stroke are generally the same across the board. Whether it is a blockage preventing blood flow to the brain or a rupture, the following symptoms are tell-tale warnings of a cerebrovascular accident; sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body, sudden vision changes, sudden trouble speaking, sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements, sudden problems with walking or balance, and/or a sudden, severe headache that is different rom past headaches (WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise, 2011).

These symptoms may vary greatly depending on the site of damage within the brain and type of stroke that has occurred. While usually symptoms are sudden and obvious, there are also instances in which the opposite is true. Symptoms may also be gradual and sometimes even undetectable. The most important factor on permanent brain damage caused by a stroke is time between noticing symptoms and actually receiving medical care. There are many causes for stroke, some that can be controlled and others that annot, but the most prominent include high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

It goes without saying that a healthy diet and lifestyle decrease your chance of acquiring many medical ailments. Although one cannot completely regulate their chance of having a stroke, the following are controllable factors that can affect your chances of having a stroke: smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol intake and drug use. A few other factors we have no control over are age, gender, and ethnicity. Taking all of these into consideration will allow one to lower their chance of having a troke significantly.

Once an individual has suffered from a stroke, recovery depends greatly on the extent of the damage, as well as many other factors. “When a patient recovers from a disabling stroke, what has often happened is that the brain has established new pathways, with previously little-used neurons now carrying impulses “full as well as memory capability. Rehabilitation is encouraged as soon as the patient is able to comprehend the exercises required. As time passes, the brain “forgets” how to function without the proper re-introduction to various muscle movements.

Treatment also involves the prevention of future CVA’s, either through medication, surgery, or as previously stated, rehabilitation. In conclusion, I have felt the effects of stroke in my own immediate family and although my grandmother is not the same person she used to be, I am grateful to say she is still here to tell her story. Symptoms of stroke are not to be taken lightly, as each untreated second passes, the brain damage being caused increases. If this condition’s facts were more common and wide-spread, I feel there would be less individuals affected by this ailment.

Although cerebrovascular accidents can have detrimental effects on a person’s physical and mental health, surviving such an attack is a blessing and one that most people do not have the privilege of saying. References The Internet Stroke Center. Stroke Statistics. (2012). Retrieved March 1st, 2012, from http://www. strokecenter. org/patients/about-stroke/stroke-statistics/ WebMD. Stroke Health Center. WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise. (2011). Retrieved March 1st, 2012 from http://www. webmd. com/stroke/guide/stroke- symptoms Scanlon, V. Sanders, T. (2011). Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology. (6th ed. ).