Cerebrovascular Accident: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is CVA or Cerebrovascular Accident ?

Cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) are the medical name for a stroke. CVA;’s or strokes occur when the blood supply to parts of the brain is reduced or interrupted due to a block or a rupture of the blood vessels. This reduction in the supply of blood can result in severe damage to the functioning of the brain, thereby resulting in damage to the nervous system.

Types of Cerebrovascular Accident or Stroke

Strokes are mainly of two types. An Ischemic stroke is when the stroke occurs due to a blockage, where a blood clot blocks blood vessels and oxygen from reaching parts of your brain. This blockage can occur for two reasons. One, a blockage occurs when there is a clot in a different part of your body, but gets lodged in the blood vessel of your brain. This is known as an embolic stroke. Another way of an ischemic stroke is when a clot occurs within the brain, which is known as a thrombotic stroke.

Another type of stroke is called hemorrhagic stroke, when a blood vessel ruptures, preventing the blood from flowing into the brain.

Cerebrovascular Accident or Stroke Symptoms

With strokes, time is of the essence when it comes to medical care and care for the person. Here are a few cerebrovascular accident symptoms to look out for, that can help in identifying a stroke.

  •  Difficulty in walking
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Speech slurring
  • Paralysis or numbness of parts of the body or face
  • Sudden headaches with nausea, vomiting

The acronym “FAST” can help remember some of these

F: does the face droop?

A: Does the arm, when brought forward drift downward on its own?

S: Is Speech slurred?

T: Get medical help  as soon as possible

Cerebrovascular Accident or Stroke Risks

Stroke can have several risk factors that cause it. Some of them are:

  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis, or narrowing of arteries
  • Heart-related issues
  • High stress
  • Poor diet

Cerebrovascular Accident or Stroke Diagnosis

As in most cases, a doctor will run a thorough medical evaluation of you and your history, based on some of the symptoms. Accurate diagnosis is vital in the treatment plan and recovery of the individual.  Scans of the brain and body such as CT and MRI are important to understand where the clots are if any. This will also help understand and locate any injury to the brain and blood vessels.

Blood tests, to understand cholesterol levels, blood sugar, infections are also important tests that need to be run. Cardiograms will also help understand the cause of the stroke.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Cerebrovascular Accident or Stroke

Since stroke can have an impact on one's physical condition and mobility, physiotherapy can help in the rehabilitation process. However, this can be done after proper medical consultation with doctors and physiotherapists, who will have to customize the plan according to the patient. Some of the core areas are improving mobility, strengthening muscles and movements.

Balance also becomes important to regain, as it is something people find difficulty with. For that, several activities such as sitting up straight on a chair, sitting without support, can help slowly improve one's balance, while strengthening their muscles. 

Gait and mobility can be improved with treadmill exercises, such as walking slowly on it, which can improve balance and mobility. These play an important role in cerebrovascular accident treatment. 

Another exercise is to practice ground walking, where one walks simply on flat grounds, with or without support, based on the recovery process. This improves body coordination and increases mobility in the individual.

Bilateral arm training can also improve movement and coordination between the arms, and improve balance.

Hydrotherapy can help greatly and have good results in emotional and physical conditions. It can also help in movement, as it aids with easing bodily movements. It can also help reduce inflammation and joint pain.

Things to Remember for Cerebrovascular Accident or Stroke

Remembering FAST can help you respond quickly to the symptoms of a stroke as mentioned earlier.  

F: Does the face droop?

A: Does the arm, when brought forward drift downward on its own?

S: Is Speech slurred?

T: Time to get medical help  as soon as possible

Besides these, it is important to keep a check on blood pressure, sugar levels, and cholesterol levels. One must have frequent checkups, which can often allow a person to understand if they are at risk for stroke or not. Good diet, physical activity, and sleep also go a long way in preventing strokes.