What Is a Stroke?
A stroke is similar to a heart attack in that it is basically death of an area of brain tissue. This tissue death results from either temporary or permanent loss of blood flow to that area of the brain or from bleeding inside the brain. These two forms of stroke are classified as ischemic and hemorrhagic, respectively. As a result, the affected area of the brain cannot function, which might result in an inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the body, inability to understand or formulate speech, or an inability to see one side of the visual field. It is an emergency. If you think you are having one call 911 immediately.
In ischemic stroke, an artery to the brain becomes blocks.1 As a result, the brain tissue dies because without blood flow the tissue does not have enough oxygen to survive and dies, quickly! The most common problem is narrowing of the arteries in the neck or head. This is most often caused by atherosclerosis, or gradual cholesterol deposition.
In hemorrhagic stroke, a diseased blood vessel within the brain bursts, allowing blood to leak inside the brain.2 The sudden increase in pressure within the brain can cause damage to the brain cells surrounding the blood. As a result, the brain tissue dies both from direct damage from blood within the brain and from the pressure that excess blood places on adjacent brain tissue.
Read on to learn more about the common signs and symptoms of stroke as well as risk factors.
EMG Health Homepage: Men’s Health Introduction
External Resources: NIH: What Is a Stroke?