Stroke or Cerebrovascular Disease

A stroke occurs because blood flow to a specific area of the brain is halted when a blood vessel ruptures or becomes blocked. Brain tissue is unable to receive necessary nutrients and oxygen, causing brain cells to die. The medical term for a stroke is cerebrovascular accident, or CVA.

Signs of a Stroke

A stroke is a medical emergency and it is imperative to recognize the signs when they occur.

  • Sudden Severe Headache
  • Weakness or Loss of Balance
  • Seizure
  • Numbness
  • Nausea, Vomiting, Fever
  • Vision Issues
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred Speech
  • Difficulty Walking or Talking


The acronym FAST was developed by medical experts to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke. This is a medical emergency so acting FAST is critical.

  • Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop? Is one side uneven or lopsided?
  • Arms – Ask the person to raise their arms. Does one arm drift down or is completely unable to rise? Are they experiencing numbness?
  • Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred? Can they speak at all?
  • Time – Call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately if any of these symptoms occur. Do this even if their symptoms go away.

Causes of a Stroke

Strokes can occur in any person, man, or woman, at any age; however, the risk increases with age. Strokes occur in African Americans at a rate nearly twice as high as white individuals. The leading cause of stroke in the United States is attributed to:

  • High Cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

Knowing your risk factors and adopting certain lifestyle changes can prevent stroke. Listen to your doctor and strive for health that will help you avoid a stroke all together.
There are two main causes for a stroke.

Ischemic Stroke

The most common form that accounts for 90% of strokes. It occurs when blood vessels in the brain are blocked or become narrowed, due to the buildup of fatty deposits or blood clots. This reduces the flow of blood to the brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

Bleeding in the brain caused by a ruptured blood vessel. It is also possible for an ischemic stroke to cause hemorrhage. Additional causes are:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Overuse of Blood Thinners
  • Aneurysm
  • Trauma such as a Car Accident
  • Protein Deposits

Diagnosing & Treating a Stroke

If you or a loved one suffer a stroke, the process is very fast. Immediate treatment is necessary to prevent death and to minimize the potentially long-term impact of a stroke. Treatment will depend on the cause of the stroke. In the event of an ischemic stroke, doctors need to restore blood flow to the brain by removing the blockage. This can be done through emergency IV medication or emergency endovascular procedures. For a hemorrhagic stroke, blood thinning medications and surgery are used to control the bleeding and reduce the pressure in the brain.

After achieving stabilization, the recovery process beings. This involves being closely monitored followed by a rehabilitation program. Recovery involves a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals working together to achieve the best result possible. Place your confidence in the Desert Care Network. You will experience compassionate and comprehensive care.