All the conditions that affect the flow of blood to the brain region are collectively called Cerebrovascular diseases.
Blood flow to the brain can get affected due to several reasons and this can lead to severe complications when timely treatment is not provided.
What Is Cerebrovascular Disease?
Some of the common conditions that can be classified as cerebrovascular disease include stroke, intracranial stenosis, carotid stenosis, vertebral stenosis, aneurysms and vascular malformations.
This is one of the most common neurological conditions that can become life-threatening. It affects senior citizens more than others, and most people suffer from stroke due to such conditions.
Understanding blood flow to the brain region
Our brain needs the right amount of oxygen and blood supply in order to function in the proper manner.
When the brain is deprived of proper blood supply due to other health conditions, it can lead to stroke and other disorders in the long run.
The functioning of the brain gets affected due to improper blood supply. Having obesity and high blood sugar levels can contribute to such conditions in the long run.
Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help you to avoid such conditions in the future.
Different types of cerebrovascular diseases
- Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot affects the blood vessels and blocks the supply of blood to the brain. The brain cells die due to a lack of blood, and this leads to stroke.
- An embolic stroke occurs when the clot breaks from other parts of the body and travels to the brain region to create a block in this region.
- People suffering from irregular heartbeat are prone to developing such conditions.
- Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when the blood vessels become weak and burst in the brain region. This leaks blood into the brain and puts pressure on the brain tissues leading to hemorrhage. It reduces the supply of oxygen-rich blood and leads to stroke.
Symptoms of cerebrovascular diseases
- The symptoms include headaches of severe intensity, and it can happen all of a sudden in some cases. The symptoms usually depend on the region of blockage and how it impacts the brain tissues.
- Paralysis can also lead to this condition as the blood flow gets severely restricted due to this condition.
- Some people also have weakness on one side of their body, and this should be considered a serious symptom of brain damage.
- If you have difficulty in communicating or have slurred speech, you need to go for a medical checkup to ascertain cerebrovascular conditions.
- Confusion and loss of balance are also some of the common symptoms of this condition, and this can happen even in the early stages of this condition.
- Losing consciousness is also a clear symptom of some problem in the brain region.
- While these are mild symptoms, extreme symptoms like face drooping and weakness in the arm or having difficulty in speech need immediate attention.
Causes of cerebrovascular diseases
- The main cause of this condition is the lack of blood flow to the brain region due to several reasons. Once the blood flow to the brain gets restricted, the oxygen levels in the brain drop, and this leads to the death of brain cells.
- High cholesterol levels for a long time can lead to such conditions as the flow of blood in the blood vessels gets affected due to high-fat deposits in the body.
- In the same manner, any sort of inflammation in the arteries of the brain can also lead to cerebrovascular diseases in the long run.
- You should be extra careful if you are suffering from obesity or other health problems. Such conditions can restrict the flow of blood due to the buildup of fat in the blood vessels.
- Even diabetes can also contribute to this condition as this affects the blood flow to different organs of the body, and the sugar levels in the blood increase by a huge margin during this condition.
- Lack of proper diet and smoking can also lead to brain damage in many cases. You should be watchful about stress and hypertension as they can restrict the flow of blood to the brain region.
- Most conditions of the cerebrovascular disease need immediate medical attention, and you need to get suitable tests done to determine the cause of this problem. Your neurosurgeon will look into the problem and suggest suitable measures to treat the condition.
- If the plaque is blocking the supply of blood to the brain, it has to be removed, and your doctor may suggest going for surgery. In most cases, doctors may be able to fix the problem or at least avoid future complications.
- Carotid angioplasty and stenting are some of the procedures deployed to treat the blocked arteries in the brain region.
- In most cases, surgery may be needed when the condition has advanced too much as any delay in treatment can cause severe complications and lead to death in extreme cases.
As brain damage is usually not completely reversible, you may have to go for rehabilitation to deal with some disability. The disability can be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the problem.
- If the brain damage has caused mobility issues, people may have to go for restorative therapy that will improve the mobility of the affected region.
- Some people develop speech problems due to this condition, and they may need speech therapy to communicate clearly after a stroke.
- In some cases, psychiatric counseling may be needed to deal with the condition, and your doctor will suggest if this is essential for your recovery.
In this way, cerebrovascular diseases can lead to long term damage in many cases. However, you can avoid such conditions with proper care.
All you need to do is to use regular medications to treat existing health conditions like blood pressure and diabetes as they can go out of control if not treated properly and lead to stroke.
Apart from that, you should exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet that provides sufficient nutrition for the brain.
You should also strictly avoid smoking and alcohol when you are having symptoms of this condition.