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:
- 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
- Headache – Headache 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
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.