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A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply to the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain (ischemic stroke).  Other strokes are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhage stroke).  When the symptoms of a stroke last only a short time (less than an hour), this is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke. The effects of a stroke depend on which part of the brain is injured, and how severely it is injured. Strokes can occur rapidly and require immediate medical treatment, consequently, symptoms of a stroke should not be ignored.

Strokes may cause:

  • Sudden weakness

  • Loss of sensation

  • Difficulty with speaking, seeing, or walking. 

Since different parts of the brain control different areas and functions, it is usually the area immediately surrounding the stroke that is affected. Sometimes people with a stroke have a headache, but a stroke can also be completely painless. 

Warning Signs

 

The most common sign of a stroke is sudden weakness of the face, arm or leg, most often on one side of the body.

 

Other warning signs may include:

  • Sudden numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

 

Types of Stroke

Stroke (for patients & families)

Ischemic Stroke

The most common type of stroke, accounting for almost 80 percent of all strokes, is caused by a clot or other blockage within an artery leading to the brain.

 

Intracerebral Hemorrhage

An intracerebral hemorrhage is a type of stroke caused by the sudden rupture of an artery within the brain. Blood is then released into the brain compressing brain structures.

 

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

A subarachnoid hemorrhage is also a type of stroke caused by the sudden rupture of an artery. A subarachnoid hemorrhage differs from an intracerebral hemorrhage in that the location of the rupture leads to blood filling the space surrounding the brain rather than inside of it.

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