A stroke is a medical condition where part of the brain suffers from oxygen deprivation. It could be referred to as a brain attack or cerebrovascular mishap.
We rely on blood to carry oxygen to our bodies’ cells. Without it, they can die. When blood flow to the brain is disrupted, a person can experience a stroke. The brain cells can die if the blood supply — bringing oxygen — is not quickly returned. This can cause serious damage to the brain.
The two main types of strokes are ischemic and hemorrhagic.
Eighty-seven percent of all strokes are ischemic. When fatty deposits block a blood vessel, blood has trouble making its way to the brain. An ischemic stroke is caused by this obstruction. A blood clot is usually to blame for ischemic strokes.
A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a weakened blood vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the brain.
A mini-stroke, also called a transient ischemic attack, occurs when a less than normal amount of blood gets to the brain for a short time. Mini-strokes last a few minutes, or up to a day. Many people aren’t even aware that they had a stroke. A mini-stroke can be a warning of a stronger stroke in the future.
Strokes can cause permanent damage to someone’s health. In addition, they can temporarily affect some functional capabilities. The damage depends on how much brain tissue is affected during the actual stroke, and where it happened in the brain.
A stroke can occur in the brain stem, the brain's right hemisphere, left hemisphere or cerebellum.
The brain stem controls all the body's functions that we don’t think about. This includes breathing, hearing, talking and swallowing.
The impulses that carry out these activities start in the brain and must travel through the brain stem on their way to the various parts of the body. Patients with a brain stem stroke may become paralyzed, or not be able to move or feel on one or both sides of the body.
When a stroke takes place in the brain’s right hemisphere, a person can have difficulty judging distances, and may experience impaired behavior and judgment, as well as short-term memory loss.