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Cerebellar Stroke

Definition

A cerebellar stroke happens when blood supply to the cerebellum is stopped. This part of the brain helps with body movement, eye movement, and balance.

There are two main types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is the most common type.

Medical care is needed right away. Cells in the brain die if they are without oxygen for more than a few minutes. This can be deadly.

Cerebellum
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Causes

An ischemic stroke happens when blood flow is blocked. This may be caused by:

  • A clot from another part of the body that breaks off and gets trapped in a blood vessel supplying the brain
  • A clot that forms in an artery that supplies blood to the brain
  • A tear in an artery supplying blood to the brain

A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a burst blood vessel. Blood pools in the brain. This slows or stops the flow of blood and causes a buildup of pressure on the brain.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in older adults and people with a family history of stroke.

Problems that affect blood vessel health and blood flow can raise the risk of stroke. Some examples are:

Daily habits can also play a role. Some examples are:

  • Smoking
  • A diet that is high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium
  • Physical inactivity
  • Cocaine, amphetamines, or heroin use

Symptoms

Symptoms start suddenly. A person with a cerebellar stroke may have:

  • Problems moving or walking
  • A feeling of spinning when they are still or having balance problems
  • Muscle weakness or tremors
  • Headache
  • Problems chewing, swallowing, and speaking
  • Problems sensing pain and temperature
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Loss of consciousness

Diagnosis

A stroke needs to be diagnosed fast. The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will look for signs of nerve or brain problems.

Blood tests may be done to look for clotting problems.

Images may be taken of the brain. This can be done with:

Heart function will be checked. This can be done with:

Treatment

Emergency care will be needed. The heart and lungs may need help A tube may also be placed to help with breathing. Other options are:

Medications

For an ischemic stroke, medicine may be given to:

  • Dissolve clots and stop new ones from forming
  • Thin blood

For a hemorrhagic stroke, medicine may be given to:

  • Work against any blood-thinning drugs a person has been taking
  • Reduce how the brain reacts to bleeding

Surgery

Options to treat an ischemic stroke are:

  • Embolectomy—a tube is passed through blood to remove a clot or deliver medicine to break it up
  • Vertebrobasilar angioplasty and stenting—a major artery to the brain is widened and a mesh tube is left there to help keep it open

Rehabilitation

Therapy may be needed to regain lost skills. Options are:

  • Physical therapy—to help with movement
  • Occupational therapy—to help with daily tasks and self care
  • Speech therapy—to help with swallowing and speech
  • Psychological therapy—to provide support after the stroke

Prevention

The risk of stroke can be lowered by:

  • Managing long term health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Keeping a healthy weight through diet and exercise
  • Eating a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Not smoking, breathing others' smoke, or vaping
  • Limiting alcohol

References

  • Hemorrhagic strokes (bleeds). American Stroke Association website. Available at: https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke/types-of-stroke/hemorrhagic-strokes-bleeds.
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/intracerebral-hemorrhage.
  • Ischemic strokes (clots). American Stroke Association website. Available at: American Stroke Association website. Available at: https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke/types-of-stroke/ischemic-stroke-clots.
  • Lifestyle changes to prevent stroke.American Stroke Association website. Available at: https://www.stroke.org/-/media/Stroke-Files/Lets-Talk-About-Stroke/Prevention/Lifestyle-Changes-to-Prevent-Stroke.pdf.
  • Long-term management of stroke. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/long-term-management-of-stroke.
  • Medelson, S.A. and Prabhakaran, S. Pace of progress in stroke thrombolysis: are hospitals running to stand still? Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes, 2017; 10 (1): e003438.
  • Neuroimaging for acute stroke. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/evaluation/neuroimaging-for-acute-stroke.
  • Stroke (acute management). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/stroke-acute-management-1.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/subarachnoid-hemorrhage.
 
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