What is cerebrovascular disease?

Cerebrovascular disease is a common cause of stroke, the third leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Strokes are sometimes called "brain attacks" because what happens to the brain during a stroke is similar to what happens to the heart during a heart attack. The lack of bloodflow deprives critical brain cells of oxygen and nutrients. The length of time of the inadequate bloodflow will determine the extent and permanence of the damage to the brain.

There are two kinds of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.

Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. It results from clogging of the arteries,through a process called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and death of brain cells. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, leading to bleeding in the brain.

Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment of cerebrovascular disease

Many things related to ischemic stroke, such as who is at risk, the symptoms and how the problem is diagnosed and treated, depend on underlying causes -- whether it be carotid artery disease, vertebrobasilar insufficiency or something else.

In the case of hemorrhagic stroke, surgery may be required to remove pooled blood from the brain and repair the damaged blood vessel. UC Davis Health neurosurgeons and neurointerventionalists provide care for hemorrhagic strokes.