Strokes can be fatal or cause serious disability. A CVA refers to a cerebrovascular accident, also called a stroke, explains Healthline. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked by a blood clot or ruptures, causing bleeding into the brain tissue.
High blood pressure is the primary risk factor for strokes, notes PubMed Health. Additional risk factors include a family history of strokes, a history of diabetes, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation and increasing age. Those with heart disease and poor circulation in their legs, those with unhealthy lifestyles, and women who use birth control pills are also at higher risk for stroke.
Symptoms of a stroke include a sudden headache accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, difficulty walking, and difficulty speaking or understanding conversation, according to Healthline. Visual disturbances and numbness or paralysis in the face or extremities may be present. The sooner a person gets treatment, the sooner these symptoms may be able to be reversed.
Treatment depends on the type of stroke, according to PubMed Health. If the stroke is due to a blood clot, a clot-busting drug can help dissolve it, if the drug is administered within 3 to 4 1/2 hours of stroke onset. Blood thinners, medicine to reduce lifestyle challenges and balanced nutrients also help treat stroke survivors.