|What is a stroke?
While there are many variations of cerebrovascular disease, stroke
(cerebrovascular accident or CVA) is the most common. When a stroke
occurs, a specific part of the brain fails to receive sufficient blood flow,
hence, insufficient oxygen and nutrients. Lack of blood flow occurs when an
artery becomes blocked (obstructive stroke) or when an arterial break
occurs causing uncontrolled bleeding into blood tissue (hemorrhagic stroke).
Either type of stroke can cause ischemia (an area of damaged tissue).
Strokes can be massive to minuscule and can occur anywhere in the brain.
Both the size and location of the stroke determines the functional
Stroke is a serious condition, and can be life-threatening. Even small, barely
noticed strokes, can signal serious problems with blood pressure or other
physical abnormalities, and must be analyzed by a physician.
Characteristic symptoms of stroke are usually associated with interruption of
blood supply to specific areas and include:
Changes in speech
Weakness on one side of the body
Attention by a physician is critical and essential.
Subsequently, neuropsychological examination can help describe the
functional consequences of stroke and aid in identifying the location of the
stroke within the brain. Sometimes, differential diagnosis between various
forms of dementia and stroke needs to be made. Understanding the
diagnostic foundation for neuropsychological symptoms is essential in
treatment and rehabilitation.