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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


cerebrovascular accident  listen  (seh-REE-broh-VAS-kyoo-ler AK-sih-dent)

  In medicine, a loss of blood flow to part of the brain, which damages brain tissue. Cerebrovascular accidents are caused by blood clots and broken blood vessels in the brain. Symptoms include dizziness, numbness, weakness on one side of the body, and problems with talking, writing, or understanding language. The risk of cerebrovascular accident is increased by high blood pressure, older age, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, atherosclerosis (a buildup of fatty material and plaque inside the coronary arteries), and a family history of cerebrovascular accident. Also called CVA and stroke.