More than 795,000 Americans will have a stroke—or brain attack—this year, and 133,000 cases will be fatal. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. It is a common misconception that stroke only occurs in the elderly. Recent studies documenting an increase in stroke in the
young suggest that one in five patients presenting with stroke are under the age of 55.
A stroke happens when blood and oxygen flow to the brain is stopped or interrupted due to either a blockage in a blood vessel or a ruptured blood vessel. This loss of oxygen will cause damage to the brain. The two major kinds of stroke are ischemic
stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, preventing oxygen from reaching brain cells. The resulting damage to the brain is the ischemic stroke. This is the most common kind of stroke. There are different causes for ischemic stroke, some of
About 10 percent of people have a warning sign before an ischemic stroke. This is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
A TIA is a temporary interruption of blood flow to a part of the brain. The signs and symptoms of a TIA are the same as those experienced with a stroke, but they last for a shorter period–usually less than one hour–and then disappear, without leaving permanent effects.
Because TIAs are temporary and the symptoms may resolve quickly, it is easy to ignore them or to believe that the problem has disappeared. It is dangerous to ignore TIAs, however, because the underlying problem that caused the TIA continues to exist. It is extremely important to understand that a TIA requires immediate medical attention, as they are often early warning signs of a more serious and debilitating stroke to come.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a brain blood vessel bursts and bleeds, causing blood to leak into or around brain tissue. As it collects, the pool of blood puts pressure on the brain and irritates brain tissue.
The two different types of hemorrhagic stroke are:
Through prevention, education, treatment and rehabilitation, Allina Health is working to lower the incidence and improve the recovery from all types of stroke.