Cerebro Vascular Accident (CVA) or stroke is a medical condition in which neurologic deficit result from decreased blood flow to a localized area of the brain. It interrupts or diminishes oxygen supply, causing serious damage or necrosis in the brain tissues. see Stroke risk factors, Types of stroke, Pathophysiology of stroke below.

Stroke results when the supply of blood to the part of your brain is either interrupted or reduced, thus denying(depriving) the brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. This results to the death of the brain cells within minutes. Stroke is a medical emergency, Prompt treatment is essential, and early action can minimize damage of the brain and potential complications in the future. Fortunately stroke can be prevented and treated.


Stroke Risk Factors

There are many risk factors that can increase your chances of having stroke. Some of these factors can also increase your chances of having a heart attack. Stroke risk factors that are treatable includes the following:

Lifestyle Risk Factors:

  • Obesity or being over weight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Binge or heavy drinking
  • The use of illicit drugs which includes methamphetamines and cocaine

Medical Risk Factors

  • When your blood pressure reading is higher than 120/80 mm of mercury (mmHg)
  • Smoking of cigarette
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol level
  • Cardiovascular diseases which includes heart defects, heart failure, infection of the heart or abnormal heart rhythm
  • Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or TIA(Transient Ischemic Attack)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Other Factors

  • Age: People that are 55 years or older have a higher chance of being down with stroke than younger people do
  • Race: Africa people have a higher chance/risk than other races
  • Sex: Males(men) ate at higher risk of having stroke compared to women. Women often have stroke when they are older and they often die of stroke compared to men
  • Hormones: the use of birth control pills or hormone therapies that are estrogen inclusive as well as increased levels of estrogen from pregnancy and childbirth
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"Stroke risk factors, Types of stroke, Pathophysiology of stroke"


  • Ischemic stroke: blood supply to a part of the brain is suddenly interrupted due to either a thrombus, embocus, systemic or metabolic disease
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: this occurs when a blood vessel breaks open, spilling blood into spaces surrounding neurons
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): Brief episode, less than 24 hours of neurological dysfunction, it's a warning for impending stroke. Neurological dysfunction is present for minutes to hours but no permanent neurological deficit remains
  • Neuromuscular Deficits: These are due to damage of motor neurons of the pyramidal tract. Damage to the left side of the brain will result in paralysis of the right side of the body (hemiplegia) vice versa


In summary Stroke risk factors includes:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Artheroscerosis
  • High serum triglyceride levels
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Family history of cerebrovascular disease
  • Aging
  • Common in males
  • Common among the blacks
  • Sickle cell disease


"Stroke risk factors, Types of stroke, Pathophysiology of stroke"



In stroke, there is reduced blood and oxygen supply to a particular area of the brain this could result from obstruction or rupturing of the tiny blood vessels. The impaired brain tissue perfusion (depending on the affected area) will result in speech defect, Dysphagia, visual problem, sensory losses such as touch and auditory stimuli, impaired mental activity if the frontal lobe is affected e.g. reduced comprehension forgetfulness, loss of control of the external sphincter resulting in incontinence. Depending on the side that is affected, hemiplegia is one of the most common symptoms of left hemiplegia which results from effect on the right side of the brain.



Stroke (Cerebro Vascular Accident) can be caused either by blockage of artery (ischemic stroke) or by the leaking or opening of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). On the other hand some persons may experience only a temporal disruption of blood flow to their brain (i.e. Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA) this does not cause a permanent damage/effect.

  • Ischemic Stroke

It has the greatest percentage of stroke cases (about 80%) of stroke cases are ischemic strokes. It occurs when the brain has become so narrowed and blocked thus causing severe decrease in blood flow (ischemia). The Most occurring ischemic strokes includes:

  • Thrombotic Stroke: It occurs when thrombus (a blood clot) forms in one of the arteries responsible for supplying blood to the brain. This clot maybe be caused by fatty deposits (plaque) that builds up in arteries which in turn causes decrease blood flow (atherosclerosis0 or other diseased artery conditions)


  • Embolic Stroke: This occurs when a embolus ( a type of blood clot) or other debris forms away from the brain which is commonly in the heart and is dispersed/swept through the bloodstream to lodge in narrower brain arteries.


  • Hemorrhagic Stroke

It occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures (see Pathophysiology of stroke) . Brain hemorrhages can possibly result from several conditions that affects the blood vessels. They include:

  • Hypertension (uncheckmated/uncontrolled high Blood pressure)
  • Blood Thinners (overtreatment with anticoagulants)
  • Aneurysms (Weak spots in the blood vessel walls)

A less common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is the opening/rupture of an abnormal tangle of thin-walled blood vessels (i.e. arteriovenous malformation. The types of hemorrhagic stroke includes the following:

  • Intracerebral Hemorrhage:

Here, the blood vessel in the brain ruptures and spills into the surrounding brain tissue, thus causing damage to the brain cells and the brains cells are deprived of blood and gets damaged in the process. High BP , trauma, vascular formations , use of blood-thinning medications and other conditions are possible conditions that may give rise to intracerebral hemorrhage



  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage:

Here, the artery on/near the surface of the brain ruptures and spills into the space that exists between the surface of the brain and the skull. This bleeding is feature/signaled by a sudden, severe headache. This type of hemorrhagic stroke is commonly caused by the rupturing/bursting of a small sack-shaped or berry-shaped aneurysm. The blood vessels present in the brain may widen and narrow wrongly/erratically (vasospasm), thus causing the damage of the brain cells by further limiting the flow of blood.


  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

TIA is often referred to as "ministroke" in all types of stroke, it is a temporary period of symptoms which is similar to those that results in a stroke condition. TIA is characterized by a temporary decrease in the supply of blood to part of the brain, it may last as little as five minutes

Just like Ischemic stroke, TIA occurs when a clot or debris hinders the flow of blood too part of the nervous system, but in this case there is no permanent damage of tissue and there is no lasting symptoms particularly.


"Stroke risk factors, Types of stroke, Pathophysiology of stroke"


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