History of stroke or other cerebrovascular disease cardiovascular event

Understanding the History of Stroke and other Cerebrovascular Events

The concept of stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases has been acknowledged since ancient times. Dating as far back as Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, cerebrovascular diseases were identified where both physical and non-physical treatments were applied.

The term “stroke” was first used to describe the consequences of a cerebrovascular event in the 18th century by a British doctor, John Hunter. This paved the way for future breakthroughs in understanding cerebrovascular diseases and the life-long impact it can have on survivors.

In the late 19th century, a new understanding on the cause of cerebrovascular diseases emerged, thanks to the work of Sigmund Freud. Freud observed that emotional distress and anxiety could be a factor in causing strokes, leading him to conclude that emotional distress would require emotional treatment. This was the first time the role of stress in the etiology of strokes had been considered.

The beginning of the 20th century saw more progress and further medical breakthroughs. The connection between cerebral vascular accidents and high blood pressure had been established, linking the disease with something that could be treated. Soon after this, the concept of clot-busting drugs was born, which revolutionized stroke care and opened the door for more cures and treatment.

The 1950s saw the introduction of comprehensive stroke centers, designed to provide the most advanced care and treatments for stroke survivors. The 1970s saw the development of tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), a clot-dissolving enzyme that is the cornerstone of current stroke treatments and is responsible for preventing disability in around 80% of treated patients.

Today, with the aid of things such as advanced imaging, clot removing devices, heart healthy lifestyles and improved rehabilitation, stroke survivors can recover more quickly and with fewer lasting consequences than ever before.

Common Types of Cerebrovascular Diseases

  • Ischemic stroke: A result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: A result of a weakened blood vessel that bursts, leading to a loss of blood supply to the brain.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: A type of stroke that occurs as a result of a burst aneurysm.
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA): Also known as a mini-stroke, TIAs occur when blood flow in the brain is blocked briefly.
  • Vertebral-basilar insufficiency: A type of stroke caused by decreased blood flow to the underside of the brain.