|Blood Supply to the Brain|
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- Build up of plaque in the blood vessels, called atherosclerosis
- Vasculitis—swelling of the blood vessels
- Blindness in one eye, often described as a window shade dropping, and/or other visual problems
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling of the face, arm, leg, or one side of the body (usually affects one side of the body, but there are exceptions)
- Difficulty speaking or understanding words
- Lightheadedness, unsteadiness of gait, or falling
- Trouble with balance or coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Sudden confusion or loss of memory
- Blood tests
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)—to measure your heart's electrical activity
- Doppler ultrasound—to assess blood flow in the arteries supplying the brain
- Echocardiogram—to look for blood clots and valve abnormalities within the heart
- CT scan of the head—to view internal structures in the head
- CT angiogram (CTA)—to assess blood vessels in the brain and neck with contrast dye
- MRI of the head—to view internal structures in the head with magnetic imaging
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)—to assess blood vessels in the head using magnetic imaging
- Arteriogram/angiogram—to locate and assess blockage or narrowing of blood vessels using contrast dye
- A carotid endarterectomy to remove the plaque deposits
- Other less invasive procedures, such as intra-arterial stenting to widen an artery
Treatment of Underlying Conditions
- Atrial fibrillation
- Severe anemia
- Exercise regularly, with your doctor's approval.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. It should be low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you smoke, find out ways you can quit.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. Moderate alcohol intake is no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
- Control blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes if you have these conditions.
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
National Stroke Association http://www.stroke.org
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery http://canadianvascular.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.ca
Amarenco P, Bogousslavsky J, Callahan A III, et al; Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL) Investigators. High-dose atorvastatin after stroke or transient ischemic attack. N Engl J Med. 2006;355:549-59.
FDA approves Pradaxa to prevent stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm230241.htm. Updated April 19, 2013. Accessed July 10, 2013.
Lutsep HL. MATCH results: implications for the internist. Am J Med. 2006;119:526.
NINDS Transient Ischemic Attack Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tia/tia.htm. Updated June 18, 2013. Accessed July 10, 2013.
Risk factors for stroke or transient ischemic attack. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated July 1, 2013. Accessed July 10, 2013.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated April 30, 2013. Accessed July 10, 2013.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD; Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 07/2013 -
- Update Date: 00/71/2011 -