What is a Stroke?
The brain controls most functions of the body. It allows people to think, understand, speak, move and feel. The brain needs oxygen and nutrients. These things are provided to the brain by blood flow through the blood vessels in the brain.
Stroke is a “brain attack” that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is cut off by a blockage or bursting of a blood vessel. When this occurs the brain cells in that part of the brain begin to die from a lack of oxygen and nutrients.
How a person is affected by a stroke depends on what part of the brain was damaged by the lack of blood flow and how big of an area in the brain became injured by the “attack”. This damage causes that part of the brain to lose the ability to do its job or control a specific function.
Types of Strokes
This type of stroke is seen in about 15% of all strokes (less common). Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a brain aneurysm bursts or a weakened blood vessel leaks. The blood spills into or around the brain creating swelling and pressure, damaging the cells and tissue of the brain. Unfortunately, this type of stroke is responsible for 40% of all stroke deaths.
This type of stroke is the more common type of stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked. This causes blood not to reach that part of the brain and the cells die. Multiple risk factors make a person more disposed to a potential stroke. Such risks may include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and lifestyle choices.
Additional Information: Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) occurs when blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short period of time. The symptoms mimic a stroke but usually last less than 24 hours. Though TIAs do not usually cause permanent damage, they are warning signs that a stroke can occur in the near future. TIA symptoms should not be ignored!