Understanding Stroke

The scientific term for a stroke is CVA which stands for cerebrovascular accident. It is the term for a rapidly developing deterioration of one’s brain function because of an interruption in the blood supply to part of the brain or all of it. This particular phenomenon can be caused by a hemorrhage, thrombosis or embolism in the brain.

In the medical field, if a person succumbs to a stroke, it is called an "ictus cerebri" which is derived from the Latin verb "icere" which means "to strike". This happens most often before a definitive diagnosis is given to the patient.

Strokes are medical emergencies of high importance and if they are not treated immediately, they can actually cause permanent neurological damage to the patient if not death.

Strokes are the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States as well as the rest of industrialized Europe. Experts predict that soon, stroke will become the leading cause of death worldwide.

Symptoms of stroke

There are a lot of symptoms of stroke and these can be quite varied. Historically, the patients of different types of strokes have a wide array of handicaps. On the other hand, those patients which exhibit the same type of clinical handicap may have different principal causes. 

Causes of stroke

Because the cause of a stroke is an interruption in the blood supply, there is a depletion of oxygen as well as glucose in the affected area. This particularly eliminates, if not depletes, neuronal function of glucose and oxygen in the affected area.

This will then initiate an ischemic cascade which will essentially kill all the neurons in the area or render them severely unusable. This is how the brain functions of a person who has suffered a stroke are described. This is how a person’s brain is damaged when it suffers from a stroke.

Risk factors of stroke

There are several risk factors to look out for. Some of these factors include advanced age, diabetes mellitus, cigarette smoking, migraine with aura, hypertension, transient ischaemic attack and high cholesterol.

If you know that you have had experience in one or more of these risk factors, then you are in danger of a stroke.  One of the most important modifiable risk factors of stroke, however, is blood pressure.

If you also have atrial fibrillation, then it would be in your best interest to treat them with anticoagulant drugs. Bottom line is: take out the risk factors and stay on the safe side.