Cerebrovascular disease

Cerebrovascular disease constitute one of the commonest forms of disorders of central nervous system involving cerebral vessels. These disorders come suddenly and interfere with the blood supply of the brain leading to neurological damage.

The incidence of these disorders is on the rise and persons with uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension and heavy smokers are more liable to fall victim to them. Since most of them are due to atherosclerotic and degenerative changes in the vessels their incidence is mainly in the age group of 50 years and above.

The common forms of cerebrovascular disease consist of:

1. Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)

2. Cerebral thrombosis

3. Cerebral embolism/infarction

4. Cerebral hemorrhage/sub arachnoid hemorrhage.

Predisposing factors

A number of causes may act as risk factors, like uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, obesity, hyperlipidaemia heavy cigarette smoking, polycythaemia, arthritis and use of oral contraceptives in women. Embolic strokes are as a result of valvular heart disease, ischemic heart disease and congenital heart disease where embolism in the cerebral vessels occurs either due to arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation or infective endocarditis.

Cerebrovascular disease

Sometimes atheromatous plaques may get dislodged and produce a picture of cerebral embolism. Further fall in blood pressure leading to hypo tension, the process of auto regulation of blood supply in the cerebral blood vessels fails and depending on the degree of involvement it may be in the form of ischemic stroke or thrombosis.