What is CVA?
CVA or cerebro-vascular accident refers to a medical condition wherein the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or impeded resulting to loss and/or impaired function. It is commonly known as “stroke” and this condition requires immediate medical attention as this may cause serious illness, disability, and even instantaneous death.
Strokes or CVAs may be caused by lack of blood flow to the brain. This condition may be secondary to a blockage to the blood vessels in the brain. Blockages may be in the form of a thrombosis, or thickening in the blood vessel. Thromboses are also called blood clots which impede normal blood flow to the brain. When these blood clots dislodge from the blood vessel, they become “emboli’s” which may get stuck in smaller blood vessels and result to blockage. In other cases, blood vessels may have aneurysms which may later cause blood hemorrhage which is very fatal.
Depending on the type and location of the blood vessel involved in a stroke or CVA patient, common symptoms include numbness and/or weakness of various parts of the body including the face and the limbs. Others will lose the ability to move the extremities. Some will have confusion and will be unable to talk, especially if the tongue muscles are affected. Other patients will have dizziness, headaches, loss of sensation, balance, and/or coordination.
When patients suffering from CVA are taken to the hospital, they are usually immediately given clot-busting medication, except for hemorrhagic types. Some patients may be given blood-thinning drugs to help improve blood flow. Some are given anti-hypertensive drugs and/or pain medications depending on the type of stroke and the symptoms presented by the patient. Hemorrhagic types may require immediate surgery. Those with severe thrombosis may also require surgical excision of the thrombus to restore normal blood flow to the brain. Long-term treatment for stroke patients involves extensive physical therapy.