A Definition of Cerebrovascular Disease
Cerebrovascular disease is a term relating to a series of brain dysfunctions which can lead to strokes (often referred to as cerebrovascular accidents or CVA’s). A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is obstructed due to a hemorrhage, arterial embolism, or thrombosis.
Cerebrovascular diseases, particularly strokes, are among the top five causes of death in the USA today, but we tend not to discuss them as often as other common diseases such as cancer, heart disease and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Cerebrovascular Disease: The Facts
Cerebrovascular disease means those diseases which relate to the cerebrum, or brain, and the vascular system, referring to blood vessels within the body.
The most common form of cerebrovascular disease is cerebral thrombosis, with 40% of cases diagnosed. This is a blood clot within the blood vessel that obstructs the flow of blood to the brain. A clot that obstructs 75% of an artery will create symptoms of decreased oxygen supply. Obstruction that covers over 90% can result in cell death and a complete deprivation of oxygen to the brain.
The next most commonplace form (30%) of the disease is cerebral embolism, whereby an embolism (any form of internal solid, liquid or gas) lodges in an artery causing a stroke.
The third major form of cerebrovascular disease is cerebral hemorrhage; a blood clot within the brain itself, or between the skull and the brain tissue. This accounts for 20% of instances of cerebrovascular problems, with the other 10% relating to other problems with blood vessels affecting the brain.
Cerebrovascular disease can be prevented by heeding most general health tips provided by healthcare professionals the world over, such as:
- Cutting down on cholesterol/saturated fats
- Taking regular exercise
- Avoiding obesity/watching your weight
- Controlling blood pressure/hypertension
- Stopping smoking
- Eating a healthier diet
All these things will improve your chances of living a healthy, happy life, without succumbing to cerebrovascular disease. By sticking to a balanced diet you can avoid the pitfalls of depression, strokes, illnesses serious and slight, and maintain a better general wellbeing.
What are the Treatments for Cerebrovascular Disease?
Treatments for cerebrovascular disease include medications such as Aspirin, Ticlopidine, Clopidogrel, Dipyridamole, Sulfinpyrazone and Ticlopidine, all of which have been effective in the treatment of strokes and stroke prevention for many years.
Surgical procedures such as carotid endarterectomy are often performed, whereby an incision is made in the artery, the plaque is removed, and the artery is repaired, allowing blood flow to commence as usual.
Non surgical procedures such as stenting are often performed, whereby a metal tube is inserted into the artery once plaque has been cleared, often with the use of a rubber balloon which flattens it to the artery wall. The stent then prevents the artery from collapsing again, once blood flow has returned.
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