Cerebrovascular Disease Symptoms

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Cerebrovascular diseases are conditions that affect the blood vessels and cause problems with blood flow to the brain. Cerebrovascular disease is a common cause of cerebrovascular accident or stroke.

The symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Dizziness
  • Black out or unconsciousness – Strokes can lead to difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness. A person may also lose consciousness in severe cases of a “mini stroke” or transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA event is a warning sign that a further mini stroke or a full stroke could occur and medical attention should be sought as soon as possible.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • HeadacheHeadache is worse in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage or bleeding within the brain due to a ruptured artery or arterial aneurysm.
  • Pressure within the head
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of limbs – This affects one side of the body caused by damage to a part of the opposite side of the brain.
  • Loss of balance and coordination – This can make walking difficult and increase the risk of a fall.
  • Speech problems – Speech may be slurred or even absent in cases of aphasia where speech centres in the brain are damaged.
  • Loss of vision
  • Paralysis on one side of face – The eyes or mouth may be drooped and facial expression lost on one side of the face.
  • Confusion and difficulty understanding or talking

FAST

Important points to be aware of in stroke are represented by the acronym FAST, where the letters stand for:

  • Face – The eye or mouth may be drooped on one side and the person may drool as well as having a lack of expression.
  • Arms – The person may be unable to raise their arms due to paralysis and weakened muscles.
  • Speech – Speech may be slurred or completely absent..
  • Time – Medical attention should be sought as soon as possible after symptom onset to ensure treatment is received as soon as possible and minimize the chance of long term brain damage.

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 6, 2014

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