Cerebrovascular accident (CVA)
Also known as stroke, 78% of patients with acquired brain injury are victims of a cerebrovascular accident. A stroke is a symptom complex caused by a pathological condition of the blood vessels that damage an area of the brain, resulting in various deficits depending on which area of the brain is injured.
There are two types of stroke:
1. ISCHEMIC STROKE: a restriction or interruption of blood supply to brain tissues. It may be caused by:
- Thrombosis a blood clot forms inside the wall of a blood vessel, obstructing the flow of blood.
- Embolism: a blood clot, air bubble, fat globule or any other material travels through the bloodstream, becomes lodged, and obstructs a blood vessel.
- Arteriosclerosis: hardening of the arteries.
- Vasculitis: inflammation of the blood vessels.
2. HEMORRHAGIC STROKE: a rupturing of a blood vessel, causing bleeding into the surrounding brain.
Risk factors for stroke include age, family history, ethnic background, and gender. But there are other factors that raise the risk of having a stroke. These factors include:
- Health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and high blood cholesterol.
- Consumption of toxic substances such as tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as a sedentary lifestyle.
A stroke usually happens suddenly, causing brain damage within a few minutes, although less frequently, patients may worsen with the passage of hours or even days.
Some stroke prevention strategies involve healthy habits such as following a nutrient-rich healthy, exercising regularly, quitting tobacco use, drinking alcohol in moderation, and controlling high blood pressure regularly.