Cerebrovascular diseases include some of the most common and devastating disorders: ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and cerebrovascular anomalies such as intracranial aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
Most cerebrovascular diseases are manifest by the abrupt onset of a focal neurologic deficit, as if the patient was “struck by the hand of God.”
Cerebrovascular disease refers to a group of conditions that affect the circulation of blood to the brain, causing limited or no blood flow to affected areas of the brain. The most common forms of cerebrovascular disease are cerebral thrombosis (40% of cases) and cerebral embolism (30%), followed by cerebral hemorrhage (20%).
Neurologists work with doctors trained in brain and nervous system surgery (neurosurgeons) and others to provide inpatient and outpatient treatment for people who have strokes and other cerebrovascular diseases.
A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. When a stroke occurs, brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to function.
The symptoms of stroke are distinct because they happen quickly:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause