Cerebral vascular disease
Two types of thrombosis can cause a stroke: large vessel thrombosis and small vessel disease. Thrombotic stroke occurs most often in the large arteries, magnifying the impact and devastation of disease. Most large vessel thrombosis is caused by a combination of long-term atherosclerosis followed by rapid blood clot formation. Many thrombotic stroke patients have coronary artery disease, and heart attacks are a frequent cause of death in patients who have suffered this type of brain attack.
The second type of thrombotic stroke is small vessel disease which occurs when blood flow is blocked to a very small arterial vessel. Little is known about the specific causes of small vessel disease, but it is often closely linked to hypertension and is an indicator of atherosclerotic disease.
Chronic inflammation is associated with a variety of systemic diseases, including increased fibrinogen levels. C-reactive protein (CRP) is an early marker for systemic inflammation that rises before the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), the marker of inflammation used in conventional medicine. C-reactive protein appears to bind with LDL cholesterol, increasing its stickiness and vascular adherence. C-reactive protein is considered to be a highly sensitive risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Several studies have examined the relationship between CRP levels and the risk of future strokes or myocardial infarction. One article related plasma CRP levels to incidence of first ischemic stroke or TIA in the Framingham Study original cohort. CRP levels were measured in the previously frozen plasma samples of 591 men and 871 women free of stroke/TIA during their 1980-1982 clinic examinations, when their mean age was 69.7 years. During 12-14 years of follow-up, 196 ischemic strokes and TIAs occurred. Independent of age, men in the highest CRP quartile had two times the risk of ischemic stroke/TIA, and women had almost 3 times the risk compared with those in the lowest quartile (Rost et al. 2001).
Several herbs that have multiple beneficial effects are anti-inflammatory. These include aspirin (derived from the bark of the white willow tree), turmeric (the yellow spice which contains curcumin), and the essential fatty acids found in fish, flax, perilla, and borage oils.