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Monday, July 20, 2009

What is Cerebrovascular Disease Or Cerebral Vascular Disease Or Stroke?

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The sudden interest in the topic of Cerebrovascular disease also known as Cerebral Vascular Disease has been generated due to the death of a prominent celebrity, Walter Cronkite (92 years old), who had anchored the CBS news for 19 years, died recently of this ailment. He apparently had been ill a long time. Read more about him here:

So, what exactly is this Cerebrovascular disease or Cerebral Vascular Disease and how does it occur? What is a stroke and how is it related to a cerebrovascular disease?

According to the Medical Dictionary a Cerebrovascular Disease is defined as "disease of the blood vessels and, especially, the arteries that supply the brain. Cerebrovascular disease is usually caused by atherosclerosis and can lead to a stroke."

To explain this in simple terms, a Cerebrovascular disease can be caused due to any disease that affects the arteries supplying blood and oxygen to the brain. The most common disease being atherosclerosis which is caused due to fatty deposits (plaques) in the arterial wall which in turn causes narrowing of the arteries.

What is a stroke?

According to medical definitions: "A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is disrupted, causing brain cells to die. When blood flow to the brain is impaired, oxygen and glucose cannot be delivered to the brain. Blood flow can be compromised by a variety of mechanisms."

A stroke occurs when there is either a blockage of an artery or arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain, or a rupture of the artery or arteries due to any reason. Let us examine the reasons that could cause either of the two conditions.

The main reason for the blockage of arteries is given in the above paragraph, namely atheroscerosis.

Another factor that could cause a blockage in the artery or arteries is a blood clot, also known as Thrombosis. In this situation, the blood clots usually occur in the heart and parts of that blood clot then break off and travel (embolize) to the arteries in the brain and cause a stroke. This condition is known as Embolism which can cause Transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) in the brain leading to a loss of brain function in one area.

The rupture of an artery causes hemorrhage (bleeding) in the brain and is known as Cerebral hemorrhage.

The most common condition that can cause bleeding within the brain is an uncontrolled High Blood Pressure.

A second condition that could affect the arteries is a defect or weakness in a blood vessel causing it to expand or balloon out is known as an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformations (AVM) in which there is an abnormal collection of blood vessels that are fragile and can cause bleeding.

A stroke can occur suddenly at any time causing the person to become unconscious and is a medical emergency that needs prompt attention. A person who suffers from a stroke will have loss of oxygen, blood or even bleeding in the brain which can cause severe brain damage within a few minutes (3-4) and therefore it is very important that the person should be taken to the hospital ASAP.

Read the complete details about Stroke, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment here:

"Cerebral vascular Disease, cerebrovascular disease, stroke"

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