A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes. This is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial to minimize brain damage and potential complications.

Main Types of Stroke:

  1. Ischemic Stroke
    • Description: This is the most common type, accounting for about 87% of all strokes. It occurs when blood clots or other debris block the blood vessels to the brain. The clotting can occur either in the blood vessels directly leading to the brain or in blood vessels within the brain itself.
    • Causes: Common causes include atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup), heart conditions like atrial fibrillation which can cause clots to form in the heart and travel to the brain, and severe narrowing of the arteries (stenosis) leading to the brain.
  2. Hemorrhagic Stroke
    • Description: This type occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, leading to bleeding (hemorrhage) in or around the brain.
    • Subtypes: Hemorrhagic strokes can be further divided into two main categories:
      • Intracerebral hemorrhage: The most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, occurring when an artery in the brain bursts, flooding the surrounding tissue with blood.
      • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: Less common and occurs when there is bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues covering it.
    • Causes: High blood pressure, aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, or head injury.
  3. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
    • Description: Often called a mini-stroke, a TIA is a temporary period of symptoms similar to those of a stroke. A TIA doesn’t cause permanent damage and is caused by a temporary decrease in blood supply to part of the brain.
    • Importance: TIAs should be taken very seriously as they often precede full-blown strokes. Early intervention can significantly reduce the risk of a major stroke.

Recognizing the type of stroke is crucial as it dictates the treatment approach. For example, ischemic strokes may be treated with clot-busting drugs, while hemorrhagic strokes might require surgery to repair or secure blood vessels. Prompt medical attention for any type of stroke is essential to improve overall outcomes and reduce the risk of long-term disability or death.

Categorized in:

Cardiovascular, Strokes,

Last Update: May 28, 2024