Cerebrovascular disease is a term used to described blood vessel disorders of the brain that restrict the flow of blood to certain areas of the brain. (Though cerebrovascular disease is often confused with cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease is actually a type of cardiovascular disease affecting the blood vessels of the brain.) Common types of cerebrovascular disease include cerebral thrombosis, cerebral embolism and cerebral hemorrhage, as well as aneurysms, stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA, also called a “mini-stroke”), subarachnoid hemorrhage and vascular dementia.
These conditions primarily affect the elderly and individuals who have a history of smoking, diabetes or ischemic heart disease. Cerebrovascular disease is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, following heart disease and cancer. It is also the most debilitating of all neurological conditions: 50 percent of survivors have a neurological deficit and 25 percent require chronic care.
The symptoms of a stroke in children can vary depending upon where the supply of blood has been cut off from their brain, or where the bleeding has happened. A number of conditions can lead to a stroke that results in emboli, or clots which form in a person's heart, that then break free and travel through their arteries to their brain.
There are several symptoms that a person may experience; these symptoms include:
- Vision impairment, particularly blindness or vision field problems in one eye
- Depression, mood and behavioral disturbances
- Impaired speech and verbal comprehension
- Paralysis affecting only one side of the body
- Drooling or difficulty eating or swallowing
- Coma or lower level of consciousness
- Partial loss of vision or hearing
- Unusual movements
- General Weakness
- Loss of balance
A doctor commonly diagnoses a stroke through a physical examination of the person affected as well as a description of the symptoms they are experiencing. A doctor attempts to find the location in the person's brain that has experienced damage through testing involving a CT or MRI scans, which may also help to rule out brain hemorrhage or tumors. A doctor considers the person's age, as well as any vascular, cardiac, or brain conditions the person may have. The doctor will attempt to determine whether the stroke was either hemorrhagic or ischemic. Ischemic strokes are often followed by additional strokes unless the problem is treated. A doctor may order an EEG if the person has experienced seizure activity, or an echocardiogram if they have a pre-existing heart condition. A doctor will attempt to rule out things such as encephalitis, meningitis, bleeding inside the person's skull, neurodegenerative disorders, brain abscess, or migraines as causes of the stroke symptoms the person is experiencing.
There are a number of tests that a doctor can use to assist in reaching a diagnosis of cerebrovascular disease. The majority of the tests involved are designed to detect carotid artery disease (CAD) before the person experiences a stroke. CAD, unlike hemorrhagic cerebrovascular disease, often progresses for many years while presenting no symptoms at all, accounting for approximately ninety-five percent of all cases of cerebrovascular disease.
Treatment for cerebrovascular disease depends on the individual, the nature of the disease, and the severity of the disease. For example; the goals for treating hemorrhagic disease is to stop the bleeding associated with it while preventing a recurrence of the bleeding. The goals can be achieved through surgery, catheters, and wire mesh stents. Prompt treatment of hemorrhagic disease may prevent more serious damage to the person affected.
A doctor may suggest that persons with CAD make some different lifestyle changes:
- Improving blood cholesterol levels (lowering LDL and raising HDL)
- Eating a heart-healthy diet, low in trans and saturated fat
- Avoiding chronic stress or anger
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Controlling blood pressure
- Getting regular exercise
- Controlling blood sugar
- Quitting smoking
We encourage you to educate yourself about Cerebrovascular Disorders in India, benefits from the right kind of surgery and then make an informed decision.
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