Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke). What you should know about it.

Stroke patient


What is Stroke?

A stroke or cerebrovascular accident is a type of brain injury. This injury is mostly caused by blockage or rupture in the brain’s blood carrying vessels. When this happens, a shortage of oxygen and vital nutrients occurs in this most essential organ. As a result of this, the brain cells that are starved of blood begin to shut down and die because they are not receiving the required level of oxygen.

What are the types of cerebrovascular accident?

Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. Subsequently, blood is unable to reach the brain. Ischemic strokes account for about 87% of all strokes. An ischemic stroke can occur in two ways:

  • An embolic stroke occurs if a blood clot forms somewhere in the body (usually the heart) it can travel through the bloodstream to the brain. Once in the brain, the clot travels to a blood vessel that’s too small for it to pass through. When this happens, the clot gets stuck there and stops blood from getting through.
  • A thrombotic stroke is caused by a blood clot that forms inside one of the arteries supplying blood to the brain.  This type of stroke is usually seen in people with high blood cholesterol levels and narrowed blood vessels.

Haemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weak spot in the wall of an artery balloons out and bursts. When this happens, blood spills inside or around the brain and causes swelling and pressure on the brain. Inevitably, brain cells and tissue are damaged.

Haemorrhagic stroke can be classified into two based on the location of the blood vessel damage. On the whole, haemorrhagic strokes are less common than ischaemic strokes. Although only 15% of all strokes is said to be haemorrhagic, but they are responsible for about 40% of all stroke deaths.

Is Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) a type of stroke?

TIA occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a short period of time. It can mimic stroke-like symptoms but these symptoms last less than 24 hours. Although TIAs do not cause permanent brain damage, they are a serious warning sign that a stroke may happen in the future.

What are the signs of having a stroke?

People who survive a stroke often have weakness on one half of the body. In the same way, several people experience weakness or stiffness in some of their muscles after a stroke and lose the ability to control them. There could also be with difficulty with moving, talking, or organizing thoughts. In addition, problems with vision, swallowing, controlling the bladder and bowels as well as excessive fatigue can be seen.

What are the causes of cerebrovascular accident?

Stroke is caused by a multitude of factors. While some of these factors are inborn or otherwise unavoidable, many are related to lifestyle and behavioural choices. These factors include:

Can it be prevented?

Up to 80% of strokes are preventable by working to manage personal risk. The risk of having a stroke can be significantly reduced through a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking.

Treatment of high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and high cholesterol levels with medications can also be influential in reducing the risk of having a stroke.



  1. Stroke Association https://www.stroke.org.uk
  2. National Stroke Association http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke
  3. Stroke Foundation https://strokefoundation.com.au/About-Stroke
  4. US Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality http://www.strokecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Recovering-After-a-Stroke.pdf
















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