Stroke and Neurovascular Disorders
Stroke is a medical emergency because it can be treated, but only if caught in time… Stroke may not feel like a medical emergency–because it often does not cause pain. Nevertheless, if you have sudden loss of ability to move your body, to think, or to communicate, you should immediately call 911.
Stroke is a medical emergency. If you have sudden loss of neurological function, this may mean a stroke is starting. A stroke often does not cause pain. Nevertheless, you should immediately call 911…
A stroke is a fast moving disease that starts suddenly, and kills part of your brain. A stroke may cause irreversible loss of ability to move, think and/or communicate. A stroke is caused by sudden lack of normal blood flow (which carries oxygen and nutrients) to part of your brain. This is either because the blood vessel to part of your brain is suddenly blocked by a clot (an ischemic stroke); or, because that blood vessel bursts–so the blood bleeds into your brain (a hemorrhage, or hemorrhagic stroke).
Symptoms of a stroke vary widely but typically involve sudden onset of one or more of the following:
- Weakness (usually without pain) in parts of your body on one side.
- Tingling or numbness in parts of your body on that same side.
- Slurring, or inability to put thoughts into speech, and/or confusion of thoughts.
- Spinning dizziness or double vision.
Stroke is a medical emergency because it can be treated, but only if caught in time. If not treated within the first few minutes to hours, symptoms that you feel at the beginning of a stroke are more likely to become permanent. Stroke may not feel like a medical emergency–because it often does not cause pain. Nevertheless, if you have sudden loss of ability to move your body, to think, or to communicate, you should immediately call 911.
A neurovascular disorder is a problem with blood vessels within the nervous system. This usually occurs within the brain but more rarely may occur within the spinal cord or within the peripheral nervous system. A neurovascular disorder may be an actual harmful disease in progress–stroke is a common example of this. Alternatively, a neurovascular disorder may increase risk for harmful disease. Aneurysm provides an informative example: It is an outpouching of an artery caused by an abnormal weakness in the connective tissue part of an artery. This makes that artery more likely to burst than an artery without aneurysm, i.e more likely to cause hemorrhagic stroke. Therefore, an aneurysm, is in itself a neurovascular disorder as it increases the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke. 2 other abnormalities of brain blood vessels also increase likelihood of hemorrhagic stroke: Cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) and arteriovenous malformation (AVM). These are differentiated from venous angioma and capillary telangiectasia, abnormalities of brain blood vessels that rarely if ever cause problems.