Cerebrovascular disease refers to a group of conditions, diseases and disorders that affect the blood vessels and blood supply to the brain. Though not all cerebrovascular diseases explicitly pertain to stroke, they will often lead to a stroke and may exhibit similar symptoms.
A stroke is the sudden interruption of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Otherwise known as “brain attacks,” strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the number one cause of disability in the world.
Strokes occur when an artery carrying oxygen-rich blood to the brain either ruptures or becomes blocked by a blood clot. The lack of blood and oxygen results in brain cells beginning to die, which leads to brain damage.
There are three main types of stroke:
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- Ischemic stroke
- Hemorrhagic stroke
Each of these types of stroke has a different cause and may require very different types of treatment, from medication to surgery. By evaluating the type of stroke you’re having and the area of the brain being affected, your emergency team will determine the appropriate treatment.
A stroke is a medical emergency, and you should call 911 immediately if you think you or someone is having a stroke. Early treatment after a stroke can reduce damage to the brain and make a huge difference in recovery.
It’s important to learn the symptoms of stroke and what to expect as you navigate care for stroke. Understanding this information can help you make decisions and ease your anxiety if stroke affects you or a loved one.