What is a stroke and what does it do to me?

Posted by Stephanie Welle, C.N.S.
September 21, 2012

We're all pretty familiar with what a heart attack is. But what if I told you that there is also such thing as a brain attack? There is – and we call it a stroke.

Much like a heart attack occurs when the blood supply to your heart is blocked, a stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or cut off. This disrupts the flow of oxygen to your brain and causes brain cells to die within minutes.

There are two different types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke is more common, occurring in about 87 percent of stroke victims. This type of stroke happens when a blood clot blocks blood flow to an area of your brain. Treatment for ischemic stroke comes in the form of a clot-busting medication administered at a hospital.

Hemorrhagic stroke is less prevalent but more fatal. These strokes occur when a blood vessel ruptures in your brain. Treatment options for hemorrhagic stroke include surgical clipping and coiling of the blood vessel. Medical management and close monitoring at the hospital are also required.

You may also have heard of people having a "mini stroke" or transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA refers to an episode in which you have stroke symptoms that usually disappear within a few hours. Even though TIAs don't typically cause lasting brain damage, they should be taken as a serious warning sign of a possible full-blown stroke in the near future. In fact, according to the National Stroke Institute, 40 percent of people who suffer a TIA will go on to experience a stroke.

Part 2: How can you tell if it's a stroke, and what can you do to help? >>

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

Leave a Comment

Enter the Letters and/or Numbers Below

Online Resource Center

Focusing on specific health conditions to give you the information you need to participate in your care.