CVA – Cerebral Vascular Accident

A cerebral vascular accident (CVA), or commonly known as a stroke, impact approximately 500,000 individuals in the United States each year. According to the Encyclopedia of Aging (Scherer, 1982), a stroke occurs with a neurologic deficit from a disruption of vascular function. This may be the result of a partial or total blockage of blood vessels to the brain by a hemorrhage or blood clot. In the U.S.,
50 percent of those suffering theirfirst stroke are 70 or older; most are males.
The most at risk for a stroke are those individuals with transient or mild neurologic events, a cardiac disease that predisposes them to embolism, and asymptomatic with a carotid bruit that indicates a blockage. Those who have experienced transient ischemic attacks, or indications of cerebrovascular disease, also have a high risk for stroke.
Strokes caused by an embolism occur suddenly. There usually is not a loss in consciousness, but an alteration in the state of consciousness. Some neurologic symptoms such as paralysis of one side of body, inability to speak, or loss of side vision of both eyes may also occur. Strokes from a hemorrhage may occur suddenly or progress slowly. Normally it is caused by an aneurysm that bursts or a congenital malformation of the vessel. Nausea, vomiting, headaches, and stiff neck are symptoms of a hemorrhagic stroke (Sherer, 1982).
Hypertension is the single most important risk factor for stroke. Other factors include heart disease, diabetes, smoking, and elevated blood cholesterol. Once a strokeoccurs, there is nothing that can be done to restore the dead brain tissue. Treatment includes preventing a recurrence with anticoagulation medication and medical control of the hypertension. Some forms of aneurysms and hemorrhages can be treated surgically. Rehabilitation is important to maximize the degree of functional adaptation and self-care. Because of the seriousness of strokes, high-risk patients should be well …

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