Cerebrovascular Disease Refers to a Group of Conditions

Cerebrovascular disease refers to a group of conditions that affect the circulation of blood to the brain. Many of these conditions are capable of causing a limitation of, or more severely, a complete loss, of blood flow to specific areas of the brain. The most common types of cerebral vascular disease include stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini stroke), and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Signs of a Stroke

A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disturbed or interrupted. The main symptoms of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym FAST:

Face– your face may fall to one side, you may not be able to smile, or your mouth or eye may have drooped.

Arms– you may not be able to raise one or both arms and keep them there, due to arm weakness or numbness.

Speech– you may have slurred speech.

Time– it’s time to dial 911 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA/Mini Stroke)

A transient ischemic attack (TIA/mini stroke) is caused by a temporary interruption in the blood supply to part of the brain, which results in a lack of oxygen to the brain. Symptoms usually last from only a few minutes to 1-2 hours, but are similar to a stroke. TIA’s can be a warning sign of an impending stroke, and medical attention should be sought immediately for stroke prevention. There’s approximately a 20% chance that people who have a TIA will experience a full stroke during the four weeks that follow the TIA.

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

A subarachnoid hemorrhage is a less common cause of cerebrovascular disease. It occurs when blood leaks from blood vessels onto the surface of the brain. During a subarachnoid hemorrhage, the bleeding occurs in the arteries that run underneath a membrane in the brain called the arachnoid, which is located just below the surface of the skull. Like all cerebrovascular events, a subarachnoid hemorrhage is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment to prevent serious complications, brain damage, or death. Three quarters of all subarachnoid hemorrhages are the result of an aneurysm rupturing. Other causes of subarachnoid hemorrhage include traumatic brain injury, and malformation of blood vessels.

Cerebrovascular Disease Can Be Serious – Call Us For Help

Cerebrovascular disease can be very serious and many patients suffer from dizziness and balance problems as a result. These symptoms decrease the ability to perform independent activities of daily living, thus contributing to an overall decline in a person’s quality of life. The main balance center of the brain, the brain stem, is particularly susceptible to cerebrovascular disease. Disruption of cerebellar function due to cerebrovascular disease can cause dizziness, vertigo, ataxia (uncoordinated gait), imbalance, increased risk of falling, and functional disability. A thorough evaluation of the three balance systems, (vestibular/visual tracking/somatosensory), of the human body is an integral part of identifying these functional balance deficits. The key to successful treatment is identifying deficits in these balance systems and correcting them to allow all three systems to work together. Getting to the right physical therapy clinic is also key to treatment success. The Center for Balance and Dizziness is the only physical therapy practice in Cincinnati that exclusively treats individuals suffering from dizziness, vertigo, and balance problems.

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • History of transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
  • Diabetes
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity and obesity
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Age
  • Gender: Stroke is more common in men than in women.
  • Heredity and race: There is a greater risk of stroke if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke.
  • Prior stroke or heart attack: Those who have had a stroke are at much higher risk of having another one. Those who have had a heart attack are also at higher risk of having a stroke.

Prevention Tip

Remember to talk to your doctor about keeping your prescription medications up to date, and to ask about any interactions with drugs you may already be taking.

“The Center for Balance only treats patients suffering from dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance; we are not just another PT clinic. We treat our patients in comfortable surroundings and each treatment session is 1 on 1 with our trained specialists. You will not be passed onto someone else or told to do exercises by yourself. Contact us today!”