Nervous system: Seizures and strokes

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The nervous system can develop several types of disorders, which can affect the clients you care for. The disorders can cause different problems depending on their cause and the area of the nervous system involved

One of the most common nervous system disorders is stroke, also known as cerebrovascular accident or brain attack. This is when the brain gets damaged due to being deprived of oxygen- rich blood.

There are two main types of stroke: an ischemic stroke, which occurs when there’s a blockage of an artery, and a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when an artery in the brain leaks into the brain tissue.

Now, most ischemic strokes are caused by thrombosis, meaning that a clot forms over an atherosclerotic plaque.

This is when a buildup of fat and cholesterol forms on the inside of a blood vessel in the brain known as cerebral blood vessels and starts to obstruct arterial blood flow.

Another mechanism for ischemic stroke is an embolism. This happens when a blood clot breaks off from an atherosclerotic plaque from an artery outside the brain, breaks loose, and travels to the brain where it gets lodged in a cerebral artery.

Factors that can increase the client's risk for having a thrombotic or embolic stroke include anything associated with atherosclerosis, like smoking, hypertension, or high blood pressure; diabetes; and a diet high in saturated fat.

Now, sometimes a small clot can block a cerebral artery for a short period of time before dissolving, restoring normal blood flow.

So, if it self-resolves within 24 hours, usually within minutes to hours, it’s called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA for short. The main risk factor for a TIA is atherosclerosis.


Both stroke and seizures are medical conditions that can affect the nervous system. A stroke occurs when a part of the brain loses its blood supply. There are two main types of stroke: an ischemic stroke, which occurs when there's a blockage of an artery, typically from a thrombus or embolus; and a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when an artery in the brain ruptures and leaks blood into the brain.

A stroke may result in permanent disability, like hemiplegia or aphasia. Acute care focuses on the early reestablishment of blood flow and supportive measures, while long-term care may include speech, physical, and occupational therapy.

On the other hand, seizures are sudden, abnormal electrical discharges in the brain that can cause changes in movement, behavior, and consciousness. These can be focal seizures, meaning that they affect one small area in one brain hemisphere, or generalized seizures, which affect both hemispheres and include tonic-clonic and absence seizures.


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