A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is decreased or stopped. The blood flow can be blocked from a blood clot, plaque, or leak in a blood vessel. Sometimes the blood flow to the brain is blocked for a brief time.
Call 911 immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of stroke. The paramedics will arrive and take you quickly to the hospital. Do not drive your car.
If you have signs of a stroke, but the signs go away in minutes to hours, this is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke.” This is a strong warning that there is a problem and a stroke could occur in the future.
When the blood flow to the brain is blocked causing permanent damage, it is called a stroke. Tests can be done to find the type, location, and cause of the disruption in blood flow to the brain.
The two most common types of stroke are:
- Ischemic stroke, which occurs when arteries are blocked by blood clots or by the gradual build-up of plaque and other fatty deposits. About 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic.
- Hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks, leaking blood into the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes account for 13 percent of all strokes, yet are responsible for more than 30 percent of all stroke deaths.