What is Stroke and its causes?

Stroke medically is called Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA). It is defined as the death of Brain cells on a small portion of the Brain due to a bleed in the Brain or blocked blood vessel. The damage in most people is permanent which is why most people with stroke are permanently disabled. There are many causes and risk factors associated with CVA which will be mentioned below. The treatment of stroke starts the moment the patient is seen by the doctor and involves multiple disciplinary approach.

What Happens During stroke (CVA)?

The Human Brain controls the entire body by sending chemical and Electrical signals which tells a Part of the body what to do. Different parts of the Brain control different parts of the body, for example: the part of the Brain that is responsible for interpreting what the eyes see is in the back of the Brain called Occipital Lobe. The sides of the Brain (Temporal Lobes) deals with speech and interpretation of input from the ears while the Top part (called Parietal Lobe) deals with controlling movement of Different parts of the Body, mostly arms and legs. The left side of the Brain control the right side of the Body and vice versa.

Different parts of the Brain with different functions
Parts of the brain

The Brain depends on sufficient and continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients which come through blood vessels in order to function properly. Brain cells die within five minutes of not receiving Blood, which happens during stroke. There are two types of stroke which represent two scenarios:

  1. Hemorrhagic stroke: The blood vessels burst and bleed in the brain (Cerebral bleeding) leading to insufficient blood supply to the affected part.
  2. Ischemic stroke: here the blood vessel is blocked by a blood clot or Fat or sometimes a Tumor.
Two different types of stroke
different types of stroke

Causes of Stroke

The main cause of Stroke is either a bleed or blocked blood vessels. There are many causes of Bleeding, the most common are:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Aneurysms ( small areas of weak blood vessels and bulge)
  • Head trauma like a blow in the head in Boxing fight or Car accident

The causes of blocked blood vessel can be a Blood clot or Excess fat in the blood vessels. Conditions that Increase the risk of Stroke include:

  • Smoking (Interferes with clotting)
  • Heart Disease (like Atrial Fibrillation and Endocarditis)
  • Obesity and Overweight
  • Family history of stroke
  • Covid-19
  • Deep vein Thrombosis
  • Oral Contraceptives (Pill)
  • Alcohol abuse ( interferes with clotting)
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • AntiPhospholipid Syndrome
  • Brain  Tumours

9 Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

The stroke development is usually sudden, symptoms depend on the part of the brain that is affected. The most common time of stroke development is at early hours of morning at 04:00am. This is mostly because Blood Pressure is the highest around this time and the Heart rate is at its lowest. Patients usually have sudden onset:

  1. Weakness of one side of the body
  2. Severe Headache
  3. Loss of speech
  4. Loss of awareness (unconscious)
  5. Dizziness
  6. Loss of vision on one side
  7. Seizures (Fits)
  8. Inability to swallow (Dysphagia) which is a very dangerous sign
  9. Inability to hold Urine (urinary incontinence) or Stool Incontinence

The symptoms are worse during the onset of Stroke, as time goes by and with early Physiotherapy or Rehabilitation Involvement, some of the symptoms improve while others remain Permanent.


The most important thing to note is that most patients with Hemorrhagic stroke do not survive (99% die). For those with Ischemic stroke, Permanent damage can be prevented if the person is given treatment to dissolve clots, called Thrombolytics, within 60 minutes of onset of symptoms. If an Hour has already passed, the important thing is to start a rehabilitation. The treatment needs a team of people that include:

  1. Physiotherapist: To assist the patient to find alternate ways to efficiently use the working parts of the body and learn to walk.
  2. Speech Therapist : to help in teaching those with speech involvement learn how to talk again
  3. Psychologist: to keep motivating and encouraging the patient to accept the condition mentally
  4. Dietician : To help in determining the correct diet for those with swallowing difficult
  5. Medical Doctor: to manage other medical conditions like High Blood pressure and swallowing difficulties
  6. Family members : To give the support the person might need as he or she is now disabled


Stroke can be prevented by minimising all the risk factors. Stop smoking as it is associated with many other health complications. Reduce or stop alcohol consumption. Reduce weight if you are obese or overweight by following Advices on how to lose weight. Make sure that your blood pressure is controlled by talking to your Physician and measure your BP once every 6 months if your BP is normal and more frequently if it is high.

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6 thoughts on “What is Stroke and its causes?

  1. Reblogged this on Sharing some Information and Thoughts on Head and Brain Injury and commented:
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