Term: Stroke (CVA) / Vascular Disease

Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2011-10-24


The rapidly developing loss of brain function due to an interruption in the supply of blood to the brain. A stroke occurs when there is a sudden death of brain cells due to a lack of oxygen when the blood flow to the brain is impaired by blockage or rupture of an artery to the brain. Symptoms of a stroke depend on the area of the brain affected. The most common symptom is weakness or paralysis of one side of the body with partial or complete loss of voluntary movement or sensation in a leg or arm. Other common symptoms include speech problems, weak facial muscles, numbness and tingling. A stroke involving the base of the brain can affect balance, vision, swallowing, breathing and consciousness.

A stroke is also known as Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA). See MedlinePlus® - Health Topics - Stroke for more information.

MCHP has investigated several different algortihms for defining a stroke. See the Stroke - Measuring Prevalence concept for more information.

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