Cerebrovascular Disease
Cerebrovascular disease refers to any condition from a group of conditions that affect the flow of blood through the brain. It most commonly refers to stroke, which is also called a “brain attack.”
Last Updated: February 26, 2024

There are two main types of stroke, each having their own set of causes. The first type is called an ischemic stroke which is caused by blockage of a blood vessel in the brain due to 1) dislodged blood clots in the blood stream originating from elsewhere, or 2) plaques made of fat. The second type is the hemorrhagic stroke which is caused by accumulation of blood in the brain due to bursting or rupture of blood vessel/s. Various factors can increase the risk of having a stroke, including: • Diabetes • Family history of stroke • Heart disease/high blood pressure • High cholesterol levels • Increasing age • Drinking alcohol • Cigarette smoking • Eating unhealthy food • Lack of physical activity

A stroke should be recognized as quickly as possible, to improve outcomes. Signs and symptoms include: • Numbness or sudden weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body • Confusion/difficulty speaking or understanding speech • Feeling light-headed/dizziness/fainting/unconsciousness • Feeling sick or vomiting • Difficulty walking/loss of balance or coordination • Difficulty seeing with one or both eyes • Severe headache with no known cause Consider the acronym F.A.S.T: F – facial drooping A – arm weakness S – speech difficulty T – time! Time is the most crucial factor for better stroke outcomes.

If with any above symptoms, one must call emergency services or go to the nearest hospital. A Computerized Tomography (CT) scan of the brain is one of the first procedures that will be done, to identify whether there is a stroke and to differentiate what type of stroke it is. Treatment for stroke depends on the individual, the nature, and the severity of the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment means better neurological outcome for the individual. Specialized care for stroke patients begins at the emergency room, and continues to the hospital ward and even after discharge. This is because rehabilitation is needed to restore the functioning of the individual as close to baseline as possible.

Maintaining good cardiovascular health is key to preventing stroke: • Eat a healthy/balanced diet such as high-fiber, low-cholesterol, and low fat food • Exercise regularly, for at least 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week • Maintain a healthy weight • Control other medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure • Stop cigarette smoking and reduce alcohol drinking • Avoid chronic stress
Last Updated: February 26, 2024