Cervical Voluntary Artery Disease, also known as CVAD, is an independent, but interrelated problem of the neck and upper back. It is usually caused by problems with blood flow to the brain, or from the brain to the heart. If left untreated, CVAD can progress to a more serious medical complication, such as a stroke.

Symptoms of CVAs often become apparent within a year of diagnosis. The most common symptom is numbness or tingling in the area of the neck and upper back that was affected by the CVA. Other symptoms include loss of sensation, dizziness, or fainting. A stroke or a heart attack may occur if the stroke victim goes untreated. Some patients with milder symptoms may go on to develop severe stroke related issues, including a double stroke.

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The symptoms of CVAs vary according to the severity of the disease. Patients with milder cases may not go to the hospital for treatment until they show signs of cognitive impairment. It is often difficult to determine if a patient has suffered a stroke or a heart attack, as the symptoms may resemble those of other, unrelated conditions. The symptoms may also be confused with the onset of diabetes, hypertension, or hyperglycemia, which may further complicate matters.

Treatment options depend upon the severity of the CVA. Doctors may use medications to treat numbness and pain, and prescribe medicine to reduce blood flow to the affected areas. More severe cases may require open surgery. Severe cases of CVAs may cause paralysis or permanent nerve damage. Physical therapy and crutches may be prescribed to help the patient regain their mobility.

Patients with CVAs are typically treated by cardiologist, neurologist, or orthopedic surgeon. Therapy, including exercise, may help to prevent strokes or lessen the impact of a stroke. Surgery may be required if significant neurological damage has occurred. Therapy can also be very helpful for patients who have experienced a first-time stroke.

Because strokes affect the nervous system, it is very important to pay close attention to symptoms. Patients should be vigilant about changes in any of their senses, including taste and smell. Changes in vision and hearing may indicate that a stroke may be imminent. If you suspect this may be happening to you or a loved one, seek immediate medical attention.

Although strokes affect many people and cause death, they are generally not fatal. But if left untreated, they could have very adverse consequences. CVA causes can often be prevented. Regular checkups can alert you to potential problems, so it is important to visit your doctor regularly.

Stroke happens when blood to the brain is stopped from reaching the parts of the brain that perform certain functions. A cerebrovascular accident occurs when the brain receives insufficient blood. While a CVA doesn’t usually lead to death, it may be the beginning of stroke.

If you are concerned about your loved one’s symptoms, or those of a stroke patient, it is important to seek treatment immediately. Early rehabilitation can help to improve symptoms, while a diagnosis can help to determine the extent of the damage done to the patient. With the assistance of a qualified and experienced team of healthcare professionals, stroke patients and their families can get the treatment they need, while living with a new awareness of their body and its functions. Early rehabilitation for ischemic stroke patients and their family members can lead normal and healthy lives.