Stroke

Overview

A stroke occurs whenyour brain experiences either loss or reduced supply of blood, starving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Because of such a compromised flow of blood, brain cells begin to die resulting in a stroke, which is a medical emergency requiring prompt treatment. Early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications. The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented. Many fewer people die of stroke now than even 15 years ago. Better control of major stroke risk factors — high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol — may be responsible for the decline.A stroke may be caused by a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or a leaking or burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Some people may experience a temporary disruption of blood flow through their brain (transient ischemic attack).About 85 percent of strokes are ischemic, which are triggered ischemia—medical word for severely reduced blood flow caused generally by narrowed or blocked arteries. The most common ischemic strokes include:Thrombotic stroke, which occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one of the arteries that supply blood to your brain. A clot often may be caused by fatty deposits (plaque) that build up in arteries and cause reduced blood flow (atherosclerosis) or other artery conditions.An embolic stroke occurs when a blood clot or other debris forms away from your brain — commonly in your heart — and is swept through your bloodstream to lodge in narrower brain arteries. This type of blood clot is called an embolus. AHemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or ruptures.

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