Stroke What Is a Stroke?

A stroke can occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked or there is sudden bleeding in the brain. There are two types of strokes. A stroke that occurs because blood flow to the brain is blocked is called an ischemic stroke. The brain cannot get oxygen and nutrients from the blood. Without oxygen and nutrients, brain cells begin to die within minutes. A stroke that occurs because of sudden bleeding in the brain is called a hemorrhagic stroke. The leaked blood results in pressure on brain cells, damaging them.

Just under 90% of strokes involve blocked blood vessels (ischemic), and the rest involve internal bleeding (hemorrhagic). Strokes are further classified based on where in the brain the blockage or bleeding occurs.

A stroke is a medical emergency. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death. Signs of a stroke can range from mild weakness to paralysis or numbness on one side of the face or body. Other signs may include a sudden and severe headache, sudden weakness, trouble seeing, and trouble speaking or understanding speech.

If you think you or someone else may be having a stroke, call 9-1-1 right away. Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin lifesaving treatment on the way to the emergency room. During a stroke, every minute counts.

At the hospital, a stroke team will assess your condition and treat your stroke with medicine, surgery, or another procedure. Your recovery will depend on how serious your stroke was and how quickly you were treated. A rehabilitation plan may help you get back to what you used to do before you had a stroke.

Types of strokes. The most common type of stroke is ischemic stroke. This happens when plaque or a blood clot blocks blood flow to an artery in or on the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke is less common. This happens when a blood vessel breaks open and leaks blood into the brain. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is similar to an ischemic stroke, but the blood clot breaks up after a short time, usually before there is long-term damage. Medical Animation Copyright © 2023 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.

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