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Patient Education

What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood flow to your brain is interrupted or decreased, causing brain cells to die within a few minutes. A stroke can lead to disabilities that range from mild to severe paralysis, problems with speech, memory and muscle function, and in some cases death.

A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment can minimize brain damage and potential complications.

Alternative names: a stroke is sometimes referred to as a brain attack or cerebrovascular accident.

Types of stroke
Ischemic stroke
is the most common. It results in reduced blood flow and oxygen delivery to a part of the brain. This can be caused by:

  • The build up of fatty material in an artery to the brain, frequently with high cholesterol in the blood.
  • A blood clot from the heart or from an artery.
  • A problem with blood vessels in the brain usually due to high blood pressure, with or without diabetes.

Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 15% of strokes. It occurs when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain. High blood pressure is the frequent cause.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) looks like a stroke but lasts only 10-30 minutes. While no evidence of damage to the brain is seen on imaging studies, a TIA increases your chance of having a stroke in the future.