Cerebrovascular disease symptoms: Common signs of brain conditions – are you at risk?

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Cerebrovascular disease can develop for many reasons and often leads to irreversible brain damage. The umbrella term refers to many conditions related to the flow of blood through the brain. Express.co.uk has compiled a guide to explain the key symptoms and risk factors of cerebrovascular disease.

Cerebrovascular disease includes a range of conditions which impact the flow of your blood through your brain.

The alteration of blood flow can sometimes impair the brain’s functions on either a temporary or permanent basis.

A sudden event is known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA).

The conditions, diseases and disorders covered by this term impact the blood vessels and blood supply to the brain.

If a blockage, malformation or haemorrhage prevents the brain cells from getting enough oxygen, brain damage can develop.

Cerebrovascular disease can develop from a variety of causes including atherosclerosis, thrombosis, or embolic arterial blood clot or cerebral venous thrombosis.

Types of diseases included are stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), aneurysm and vascular malformation.

Cerebrovascular disease is one of the most common causes of death in the UK.

A stroke is the most common type of cerebrovascular disease.

The hallmark of a stroke is the permanent loss of sensation or motor function.

A transient ischemic attack is similar to a stroke but the symptoms resolve within 24 hours.

Aneurysms are caused by the weakening of the artery wall resulting in a bulge in the blood vessel.

Vascular malformations are another type of cerebrovascular disease which refer to abnormalities present in arteries or veins.

Another type is vascular dementia which is cognitive impairment which is usually permanent.

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Symptoms of cerebrovascular disease include:

  • A severe and sudden headache
  • Paralysis of one side of the body, or hemiplegia
  • Weakness on one side, also known as hemiparesis
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty communicating, including slurred speech
  • Losing vision on one side
  • Loss of balance
  • Becoming unconscious.

What factors increase the risk of cerebrovascular disease?

One factor which increases your risk of cerebrovascular disease is hypertension.

When your blood pressure is 130/80mgHg or higher, you are at risk of cerebrovascular disease.

Smoking and obesity are other high risk categories for these conditions.

A poor diet and lack of exercise are also high risk factors.

Diabetes patients are also at high risk for cerebrovascular conditions.

If you have a blood cholesterol level of 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or higher.

People with a congenital anomaly or have experienced head trauma may also be at higher risk of a cerebral aneurysm.

Pregnancy can also increase the chance of cerebral venous thrombosis.

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