Cerebral Vascular Accident Stroke

Stroke is a loss of neurological function caused by interruption of blood flow to the brain. There are two major types of strokes and they are listed below.


  1. Ischemic stroke: Results from a clot blocking or impaired blood flow which results in deprivation of oxygen and nutrients to the brain
    • Most common type

  2. Hemorrhagic stroke: occurs when blood vessels rupture. It causes blood to leak in or around the brain

To be classified as a stroke, symptoms must be present for at least 24 hours. Symptoms include impairments of sensory, motor, cognitive, perceptual, and language functions. Patients will have symptoms present on the side of the body opposite of the brain insult and they will result in the one of the following:

  1. Hemiplegia: complete paralysis
  2. Hemiparesis: weakness

Symptoms may spontaneously resolve within 3 weeks, but residual symptoms may be present after 3 weeks causing permanent disability. Males are affected more than females. It is the leading cause for chronic disability. Fourteen percent of people who survive a stroke will have another one within 1 year.

Risk Factors:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke risk is increased 4-6 times in patients with HTN above 160/95 mm Hg
  • Increased with elevated total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and decreased with higher levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL)
  • Atrial fibrillation is an independent risk factor
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA): 10% of these individuals will have a major stroke within 90 days and 5% within 2 days

Strokes are preventable and listed below are behaviors that can be changed in order to reduce your chances of having a stroke.

Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Smoking cessation
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Diet: control of cholesterol and lipids
  • Excess alcohol consumption

In some cases people are predisposed to having strokes because of factors that are out of our control. Below is a list of things that are inherent and thus non-modifiable as it relates to the risks associated with strokes.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Family history

Early Warning Signs includes the following

  • Sudden numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden Confusion
  • Sudden trouble sleeping
  • Sudden trouble sleeping
  • Sudden trouble walking
  • Sudden severe headaches
  • Early detection and treatment is essential to limited long-term complications
  • Early computed tomography (CT) is used to differentiate between atherothrombotic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke