Medbroadcast  Powered by MediResource
 Search

Go
 Browse alphabetically
ABCDEFGHIJKLMN
OPQRSTUVWXYZ
HEALTH TOPICS
Family & Child Health
Men's Health
Women's Health
Seniors' Health
Addiction
Allergy
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Arthritis (Rheumatoid)
Asthma
Atrial Fibrillation
Baby Health
Back Health
Bedwetting
Bladder (Overactive)
Brain Health
Cancer
Childhood Vaccinations
Cholesterol
Crohn's & Colitis
Cold and Flu
COPD NEW!
Cosmetic Procedures
Depression NEW!
Diabetes
Digestive Health
Ear Health
Eating Disorders
Eye Health
Flu (Seasonal)
Fertility
Fitness
Healthy Skin
Heart
High Blood Pressure
HPV
Hyperhidrosis
Incontinence
Infection
Kidney Health
Low Testosterone NEW!
Lung Health
Medications and your Health
Menopause
Mental Health
Multiple Sclerosis NEW!
Natural and Complementary Therapy
Nutrition
Obesity
Oral Care
Osteoarthritis of the Knee NEW!
Pain
Pregnancy
Psoriasis
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
Seasonal Health
Sexual Health
Sleep Health
Stroke Risk Reduction
Smoking
Weight Management
Workplace Health
Yeast Infection
All health channels

STAY CONNECTED
RESOURCES
Ask an Expert
Clinical Trials
Find a Specialist
Health features
News
Tools


Condition Info Drug Info Tests and Procedures Natural Products Ask an Expert Support Groups Clinical Trials
Home Bookmark Page Send to a Friend Sante Chez Nous Subscribe
Brain Health > Stroke > Stroke: what is it and what causes it?
Brain Health
Brain health overview
Stroke
Alzheimer's disease
Related conditions and information
Stroke: what is it and what causes it?
Stroke: risk factors
Stroke symptoms: what to know
Stroke treatment
Stroke recovery and rehabilitation
Stroke: preventing recurrence
Stroke: using walking aids
Brain Health resources
Related channels
Health features
Related conditions
Related medications
Health tools
Natural products
Support groups



Stroke: what is it and what causes it?

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted, which may cause loss of consciousness, paralysis, or death. Stroke and other blood vessel diseases of the brain are the third leading cause of death in Canada and the leading cause of disability.

There are 3 main types of stroke:

  • ischemic stroke
  • transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • hemorrhagic stroke

Ischemic stroke

An ischemic stroke is caused by lack of oxygen in the brain, usually due to a blockage of blood flow caused by a blood clot. Permanent damage of the part of the brain to which the blood vessel travels usually results.

Normally, the inside of a blood vessel is smooth, allowing blood to flow easily. Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, can roughen the wall of the blood vessel. A blood clot may then form on the irregular surface and block the blood vessel. Or, the clot may dislodge and travel towards the brain, blocking the vessel higher up.

In certain types of heart rhythm irregularities, blood clots may form in the heart and travel to the brain. The medical term for this is cardiac embolism.

A much less common cause of stroke occurs when a person's blood tends to clot more easily than average. In other cases, the cause is unknown.

About 80% of all strokes are ischemic.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), also referred to as a mini-stroke, is caused by a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain. In a TIA, the symptoms, such as slurring of speech and paralysis, last for several minutes to hours. Even though the symptoms are temporary, a TIA is still an emergency because you are at a higher risk of having a stroke after a TIA.

Hemorrhagic stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a rupture of a brain blood vessel which results in bleeding or hemorrhaging into the brain. About 20% of all strokes are hemorrhagic. The only reliable way to tell the difference between an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke is by obtaining a CT or MRI brain scan.

The most common cause of this type of stroke is high blood pressure. Years of high blood pressure weaken the blood vessel wall, eventually causing it to rupture. In other cases, the blood vessel wall in the brain is abnormal. For example, aneurysms may balloon out from a blood vessel wall and can burst causing a brain hemorrhage. There are several other blood vessel wall abnormalities that cause some people to be more likely to have a brain hemorrhage.

Regardless of the type of stroke, it's critical to get treatment as soon as possible to help reduce damage to the brain.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team 



Advertisement

Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.

Hot Topics - Bedwetting, Depression, Flu (Seasonal), Healthy Skin, Incontinence, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Stroke Risk Reduction

Condition and disease information is written and reviewed by the MedBroadcast Clinical Team.


The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.
© 1996 - 2014 MediResource Inc. - MediResource reaches millions of Canadians each year.