STROKE: A Cerebrovascular Accident(CVA) That Can Be Prevented

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 800,000 people have a stroke each year. That equates to around one person every 40 seconds.

Experience a CVA is a clear state of a medical emergency, and one should be rushed to the hospital. The risk of possible brain damage or death is imminent if one does not receive the right medical treatment. 


What is a CVA?

A cerebrovascular accident(CVA) or stroke occurs when blood vessels in the brain get blocked or ruptured, resulting in the loss of oxygenated blood and other nutrients to the brain. In other words, a CVA is characterized by damage to the brain that occurs due to a sudden interruption of its blood supply. Researchers estimate that during the occurrence of a stroke, within a few minutes, the brain cells begin to die due to the lack of oxygen. A CVA can cause long-lasting brain damage, long term disability and even death. 

Cardiovascular diseases are regarded as a leading cause of death worldwide. A cardiovascular event like a stroke can be avoided if one takes certain preventive measures. The risk of CVA can greatly be reduced by formulating healthy lifestyle habits like eating good nutritional food, maintaining physical fitness and getting regular checkups done. 

What Are the Symptoms of CVA?

Before a CVA takes place, a person would usually experience mild to severe symptoms a few moments before the traumatic event actually occurs. One can prevent a stroke from occurring if such symptoms are understood, and a person calls for immediate medical help in time. Some of the major symptoms of CVA are as follows.

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Severe sudden headaches
  • Trouble in speaking and understanding
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Stiffness in muscles
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion and trouble in understanding
  • Having problem with vision
  • Episodes of seizures
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Paralysis or numbness on the face, arms, and legs
  • Weakness in arms and legs
  • Sweating and heart palpitations
  • Slurred speech
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Chest pain or heart palpitations

Experiencing such symptoms can also signify other medical complications like a heart attack or cardiac arrest. After getting a proper medical diagnosis, one can know the exact cause of the symptoms. Before a CVA takes place, one may experience a transient ischemic attack(TIA), in which the disruption of the blood supply in the brain occurs only for a brief period and does not result in any brain damage. Such an event(TIA) should be taken as a warning sign for CVA.

Also Read: Everything You Need To Know About Stroke!

How Can You Prevent A CVA?

A medical emergency situation like a stroke can prove to be fatal in numerous ways. Seeking out immediate medical help can help a person save their life. However, some preventive measures can be taken to prevent such a cerebrovascular accident.

  • Control blood pressure:  Having a high blood pressure level is a significant contributing factor to CVA. When the arteries become narrowed, it leads to clot formation in the bloodstream, due to which the risk of stroke increases. In addition, high blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, resulting in a stroke. One can prevent stroke by keeping the blood pressure within the normal range and maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle.
  • Start Exercising: Exercising daily is extremely important if one wants to live a healthy and long life. Exercising helps lower the risk factors of a CVA like high blood pressure and high cholesterol and helps manage obesity. Doing even a minimum exercise of 30 minutes daily can lead to improved health of the blood vessels and reduced risk of a CVA.
  • Taking a healthy diet: One should avoid a diet rich in saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol as such factors have been interlinked with the occurrence of heart diseases. Food processed and has a high amount of salt(sodium) can raise blood pressure levels and should be avoided. It is often advised to take a diet rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber to prevent stroke.
  • Manage the weight: It is estimated that having accumulating excessive weight in the body or becoming obese puts an individual at extremely high risk for developing chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and stroke. Being overweight makes it hard for the heart to pump the required amount of blood through the body hence increased blood pressure in arteries puts an individual at heightened risk of a stroke. Managing the weight within the normal body mass index range can help prevent stroke.
  • Avoid smoking: Unhealthy lifestyle habits like cigarette smoking have been linked with the occurrence of CVA. Inhaling cigarette smoke releases carbon monoxide and nicotine in the bloodstream, making the heart beat faster and increasing blood pressure. Quitting smoking in time can help prevent stroke and other chronic illnesses like lung cancer.
  • Regular monitoring: Taking the precautionary measure to monitor blood pressure levels regularly, cholesterol and glucose can help catch the development of diseases in the early phases. It is advised to get a full-body checkup done at least once every year. Adopting such measures can significantly help prevent stroke and other medical complications.

Bottom Line:

A cardiovascular accident(CVA) like a stroke is preventable if one takes the appropriate steps to lead a healthy life. Medical professionals around the world recommend maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle. A stroke is a traumatic event that can cost you your life. Most CVA could have been prevented if one received the right medical treatment in time. Practicing meditation can also help with the mental stress that contributes to the occurrence of a stroke. People who already have underlying medical complications should be cautious and be in constant touch with a medical professional.

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.