Cerebrovascular accident is the unexpected death of various brain cells because of lack of oxygen (Hart et al 2014). It occurs when blood flowing to different parts of the brain gets blocked as a result of an artery which has split open (Kim et al, 2013). Cerebrovascular accident is also known as stroke (Malec et al, 2012). There are two major types of stroke which include the hemorrhagic stroke and the ischemic stroke (Malec et al, 2012). The difference between the two types of stroke is that the ischemic stroke is caused by the interruption of the flow of blood to the brain while the hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a vascular structure which is abnormal or the bursting of a blood vessel (Hart et al 2014). However, various people from different parts of the world suffer from the Cerebrovascular accident (Kim et al, 2013).
The symptoms of CVA depend on which part of the brain has been affected (Kim et al, 2013). The main common symptom of the disease is paralyzing on a particular side of the body whereby there is either partial or a complete loss of a movement or the loss of sensation in an arm or a leg (Malec et al, 2012). The other sign associated with CVA is the problems of speech and face muscles which are weak hence leading to drooling (Kim et al, 2013). The other sign of stroke is tingling or numbness (Hart et al 2014). However, when the CVA affects the base part of the brain, it leads to effects on body balancing, breathing, swallowing, vision, difficulties in control of bladder and the bowels, tiredness, and unconsciousness (Hart et al 2014).
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There are various causes of stroke which include a clot blocking the main artery to the brain (Kim et al, 2013). It occurs within a particular blood vessel which has been made thin by an artery which has hardened (Hart et al 2014). Similarly, the blockage can be caused by either cholesterol or calcium deposit which has traveled to the brain through an artery hence causing a blockage in the brain and hence causing the embolic stroke (Malec et al, 2012). Moreover, irregular beats of the heart can cause blood clots in the heart chamber, and when they break off, they pass through the bloodstream and hence form a clot in the brain artery hence causing a stroke (Malec et al, 2012). The other cause of stroke is bleeding in the brain due to widening and weakening of blood vessels in the brain (Hart et al 2014).
CVA is diagnosed through physical examination and medical history (Kim et al, 2013). Various tests are performed to look for those treatable causes hence prevent any more damage to the brain (Kim et al, 2013). A CAT scan is done to give an idea about bleeding in the brain (Malec et al, 2012). This bleeding is treated in a different way from a stroke which is caused by lack of supply of blood (Kim et al, 2013). Besides, a CAT scan can be done to establish other conditions which may lead to CVA (Kim et al, 2013). Particularly, the echocardiogram can also be done to determine any sources of blood in the heart (Kim et al, 2013). Moreover, a carotid ultrasound can also be performed to establish the condition of the carotid artery which can lead to CVA (Kim et al, 2013). Notably, inflamed arteries causing CVA can also be established through blood tests (Malec et al, 2012). Also, blood tests can be done to determine the chance of stroke due to blood thickening (Hart et al 2014).
If a patient is not too ill after a stroke, the functional abilities of the patient can be maximized through an inpatient rehabilitation which is done in hospitals and various healthcare centers (Malec et al, 2012). The process includes speech therapy whereby the patients relearn activities such as swallowing and talking, occupational therapy for regaining the hands and arms (Kim et al, 2013). Physical therapy which helps in regaining strength and walking is also done (Hart et al 2014). The main aim of all these activities is to assist them in resuming the pre-stroke activities (Kim et al, 2013).
The various types of CVA can be prevented through different ways (Malec et al, 2012). For example, an individual should involve himself in regular exercises which reduce high blood pressure through reducing fat in the body (Hart et al 2014). Besides an individual should refrain from consuming high cholesterol foods which may cause blockages of arteries hence cause the stroke (Hart et al 2014). Moreover, people should be encouraged to practice healthy living by avoiding smoking and use of the illicit drugs like cocaine and amphetamines which may lead to stroke (Malec et al, 2012).
- Hart, R. G., Diener, H. C., Coutts, S. B., Easton, J. D., Granger, C. B., O’Donnell, M. J., … & Cryptogenic Stroke/ESUS International Working Group. (2014). Embolic strokes of undetermined source: the case for a new clinical construct. The Lancet Neurology, 13(4), 429-438.
- Kim, R., Baumgartner, N., & Clements, J. (2013). Routine left atrial appendage ligation during cardiac surgery may prevent postoperative atrial fibrillation–related cerebrovascular accident. The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, 145(2), 582-589.
- Malec, J. F., Kean, J., Altman, I. M., & Swick, S. (2012). Mayo-portland adaptability inventory: comparing psychometrics in cerebrovascular accident to traumatic brain injury. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 93(12), 2271-2275.