Stroke, stroke or acute cerebrovascular disease

Stroke, stroke or acute cerebrovascular disease

Stroke or acute cerebrovascular disease appears because of some impaired cerebral circulation, which, in turn, produces a temporary or definitive deficit in the functioning of one or several areas of the brain.

Why are acute cerebral vascular events called “stroke”? Ictus is a Latin term that means “knock", In Anglo-Saxon languages ​​it is called"stroke”, Describing the unexpected and abrupt nature of said event. In this type of conditions the cerebral blood vessels, arteries or veins are injured by obstructions or due to pathological processes that prevent free flow of blood to the heart or brain.


  • 1 Stroke: affecting millions of people every year
  • 2 Sequelae and post-stroke complications
  • 3 Stroke: "time is brain"
  • 4 Con-science and art in living

Stroke: affecting millions of people every year

According to WHO estimates, around 17.5 million people died due to a cerebral vascular accident (AVC) or stroke or due to myocardial infarction (2012).

Due to the frequency with which they occur, strokes are considered by WHO as the First cause of neurological disability, the main disability acquired in adults and corresponds to the second cause of dementia; since they generate physical, cognitive-behavioral and emotional sequelae; Sometimes, permanently.

Sequelae and post-stroke complications

The sequelae derived from stroke vary according to the severity of the episode, follow-up and attention received. Some people who suffered mild strokes recover after six months naturally and / or with rehabilitation, much of the neurological recovery is achieved in the first three months, while other patients continue to recover after one year of the vascular event cerebral.

Common sequelae and complications after aICTUS

Most frequent symptoms

Less frequent symptoms

Alterations for activities of daily living

Difficulties for:

  • Feed
  • Clean up
  • Get dressed
  • Go to the bathroom
  • Climbing stairs
  • Changes in gait
  • Difficulty and / or inability to move.
  • Limitation of gross, fine motor skills and range of movements.
  • Postural instability during the execution of the usual activities of daily life.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Risk of skin integrity

Physical complications

  • Falls / fractures
  • Spasticity
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Total or partial motor deficits
  • Sensory and language alterations
  • Fatigue
  • Osteoporosis
  • Painful shoulder
  • Contractures
  • Hemiplegic shoulder subluxation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Post-stroke central pain
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Urinary infections
  • Visual disturbances
  • Deep venous thrombosis
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Epilepsy
  • Lung infections
  • Dysphagia
  • Constipation

Cognitive disorders

  • Dementia
  • Attention deficits
  • Memory impairment
  • Communication disorders
  • Impaired cognitive functions
  • Apraxia
  • Alteration of senior executive functions
  • Spatial malpractice
  • Visual agnosia
  • Anosognosia

Problems and / or psychological disorders

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Low situational self-esteem
  • Emotional suffering
  • Irritability

The post-stroke disabilities They vary according to the degree of severity, which often occur are usually: motor, sensory, communication disorders, visual and cognitive or intellectual deficits.

"Among patients who suffered a stroke: one in ten will need walking assistance and two in ten will need help to move."

When the person who suffered a stroke manifests any of the problems mentioned above, it is recommended to refer to neurorehabilitation, with the aim of trying to recover the previous functional level, as well as the possible triggers.

It is important assess and prevent the risk of falls in people who have suffered a stroke, as these aggravate the condition of the person and even the 73% of patients suffer at least one fall during the first six months after hospital discharge from stroke.

Sometimes good intentions are not enough, they are required functional coping strategies that augur the person a better quality of life, if we take into account the statistics: the person with stroke of "tomorrow" could be a loved one or someone with whom we live in a certain area, such as work or school. So it is convenient to know some signs of acute cerebrovascular diseases, as well as ways to reduce their risk factors.

Stroke: "time is brain"

"The longer you wait, the more brain damage": the ictus it is considered a medical emergencyFor what requires urgent neurological attention, people with suspected stroke or acute cerebrovascular disease should go to the hospital properly equipped and in the shortest possible time for their care. Acute complications should be addressed, provide guidance with supportive care, prevent complications such as falls and reduce risk factors to the maximum.

The diagnosis is confirmed through neuroimaging, physical and neurological assessment. Often, the Glasgow scale, Rankin, Cincinnati, ROSIER, Face Arm Speech Test (FAST), a scale that assesses weakness in arms and face, as well as language alterations, among many others.

Con-science and art in living

It is true that we will all die, but also that you can choose the way you want to live: most strokes are experienced by adults and do not end with the sweet kiss of death, but that they precede it years of disability and dependency.

The most affected age group corresponds to a particularly productive population in several aspects, since they are the support of future generations and in turn, caregivers of adults in later (older) stages.  In most cases, the illness of a close relative with such a condition also ends up affecting his family in various ways, either physically, emotionally and / or economically.

Related Posts

Cerebral Palsy, a neurological developmental disorder
Vascular pathologies of the brain, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke
Aging and cognitive change, memory decline?



Other references

Arboix, A., Pérez Sempere, A. and Álvarez Sabín, J. (2006). Stroke: etiological types and diagnostic criteria. In: Díez Tejedor E, editor. Guide for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke. Barcelona: Prous Science.