A stroke normally happens when blood cannot supply oxygen and important nutrients to your brain cells. When brain cells do not get enough oxygen or nutrients, they die. A stroke can happen in two main ways:
An Ischemic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies the brain becomes blocked or "clogged" and impairs blood flow to part of the brain. The brain cells and tissues begin to die within minutes from lack of oxygen and nutrients. The area of tissue death is called an infarct. About 87% of strokes fall into this category. Ischemic strokes are further divided into 2 groups, including the following:
Thrombotic strokes. These are caused by a blood clot that develops in the blood vessels inside the brain.
Embolic strokes. These are caused by a blood clot or plaque debris that develops elsewhere in the body and then travels to 1 of the blood vessels in the brain via the bloodstream.
On the other hand, Hemorrhagic Stroke occur when a blood vessel that supplies the brain ruptures and bleeds. When an artery bleeds into the brain, brain cells and tissues do not receive oxygen and nutrients. In addition, pressure builds up in surrounding tissues and irritation and swelling occur, which can lead to further brain damage. About 13% of strokes are caused by hemorrhage (10% are intracerebral hemorrhage and 3% are subarachnoid hemorrhage strokes). Hemorrhagic strokes are divided into 2 main categories, including the following:
Intracerebral hemorrhage. Bleeding is from the blood vessels within the brain.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage. Bleeding is in the subarachnoid space (the space between the brain and the membranes that cover the brain).
All strokes are different. For some people the effects may be relatively minor and may not last long. Others may be left with more serious problems that make them dependent on other people.
Unfortunately not everyone survives – around one in eight people die within 30 days of having a stroke. That’s why it’s so important to be able to identify the symptoms and get medical help as quickly as possible. Let us always rememeber that the faster you receive treatment, the better your chances for recovery.