Types of stroke
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies three types of stroke—hemorrhagic, ischemic and transient ischemic attack. The type of stroke you have will affect your treatment and recovery.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in your brain bursts, causing uncontrolled bleeding. Nearby brain cells can't get the oxygen and nutrients they need. Bleeding also causes pressure to build up in surrounding tissues, causing irritation and swelling. All these problems can cause the cells in your brain to die.
Causes of hemorrhagic stroke include:
Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, making up about 87 percent of all strokes. Ischemic stroke is when a blood vessel to the brain becomes blocked, stopping blood flow to a part of the brain. Brain tissues begin to die within minutes from lack of oxygen and nutrients.
Two types of ischemic strokes are:
Embolic strokes—caused by a blood clot or plaque that travels through the bloodstream to one of the brain's blood vessels.
Thrombotic strokes—a blood clot that develops in the blood vessels inside the brain.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is also called a ministroke, TIA causes symptoms similar to those of an ischemic stroke. The difference is that TIAs usually clear up within a few minutes to an hour and don’t cause permanent brain damage. TIA is a warning sign for a stroke.
The most common causes of TIA are:
One of the major blood vessels to the brain, usually one of the carotid arteries, is narrowed from plaque, a fatty substance that clogs the artery and reduces blood flow.
A blood clot travels from a different part of the body to the brain.
Plaque buildup narrows brain's blood vessels.
It's impossible to know if you're having a TIA or an ischemic stroke. If you or someone nearby has any stroke symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
Stroke risk factors
Stroke can affect anyone at any age. Certain risk factors increase your change of stroke, such as:
Abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation)—an irregular heartbeat that is a treatable factor for stroke.
Diabetes—people with diabetes are at greater risk for a stroke than someone without this condition.
Excessive use of alcohol
Heart disease—an significant risk factor for stroke and a major cause of death among stroke survivors. Heart disease and stroke have similar risk factors.
High blood pressure—a blood pressure reading of 140/90mmHg or higher can damage blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.
High cholesterol—contributes to thickening or hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) caused by plaque buildup.
Lack of exercise
Sickle cell disease—a serious inherited blood disorder where red blood cells develop abnormally.
Smoking—almost doubles your risk for an ischemic stroke.
Any type of stroke is an emergency situation. It’s important for everyone to know the signs of a stroke and get help quickly.
While symptoms may vary, they can happen suddenly and include:
A severe headache with no known cause, especially when it happens suddenly
Difficulty moving or walking
Dizziness or problems with balance or coordination
Fainting, confusion or seizure
Loss of vision in one or both eyes
Sudden nausea or vomiting not caused by a viral illness
Trouble talking or understanding others speaking
Weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side of the body
Stroke treatment is most effective when started right away. Call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
FAST help for stroke
FAST is an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke.
FAST stands for:
Face—one side of the face droops when the person smiles.
Arm—one arm may drift downward when the person lifts both arms at the same time.
Speech—the person may have slurred speech, difficulty speaking or can't repeat a simple sentence correctly.
Time—If someone shows any of these symptoms call 911 even if the symptoms go away. Make note of the time the symptoms first appeared.
Why choose The Christ Hospital Health Network
Stroke patients have immediate access to the latest approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke.
Our dedicated neurosurgery team includes expert neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists. They combine compassion and experience with the most advanced technologies to ensure the highest-quality treatment for stroke.
Stroke patients also have access to CARF-accredited inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services.
Get more information about brain stroke care at The Christ Hospital Health Network.