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Disease Information : Stroke

Stroke : What is it?

What is a Stroke?

A stroke, or "brain attack", occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blood clot or when a blood vessel bursts. This typically occurs when a blood vessel in or around the brain gets blocked or ruptures. The lack of oxygen kills brain cells in the immediate area, often causing symptoms such as weakness or numbness on one side of the body, trouble walking or talking, or vision changes. 

There are two major types of stroke: an ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel gets plugged; a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures. Ischemic strokes account for about 85% of all strokes, while hemorrhagic strokes account for about 15%.

What is a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA?

A TIA, also known as a mini-stroke, has symptoms that are identical to those of a stroke, but they last typically only a few minutes or hours. They are important because they often herald a stroke occurring in the next few days or weeks.


Stroke section was last modified: December 21, 2010 - 06:03 pm

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