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All about the stroke different stroke types ischemic stroke thrombotic stroke embolic stroke transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini stroke hemorrhagic stroke intracerebral hemorrhage subarachnoid hemorrhage causes of stroke stroke symptoms stroke risk factors diagnosis of stroke treatment for stroke stroke medications stroke prevention surgical treatments for stroke recovery from stroke stroke rehabilitation

What causes a stroke?

The causes of stroke are many and various. Every individual is different and therefore no one stroke is ever the same as another. The ischemic stroke is usually caused by atherosclerosis (hardening) of blood vessels, embolus (a piece of blood clot originating from atherosclerotic plaque or heart) or small artery disease (the occlusion of small cerebral vessels).

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot (or thrombus). Atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels as a result of the build up of fatty contents and cholesterol plaques on the vessel wall) causes blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow, which can lead to formation of a blood clot. If a blood clot develops in a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain, the oxygen supply to the brain can be diminished or completely blocked leading to an ischemic stroke.

An embolism is a dislodged blood clot that has traveled through the blood vessels and it becomes wedged in an artery. In about 15% of all strokes, the emboli are blood clots that originally formed in the heart as a result of a rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation -- a rapid, irregular beat in the upper chambers of the heart (the atria). Because of the irregular pumping, some blood may pool in the heart chamber and form a clot, which can then break off and travel to the brain as an emboli, causing an ischemic stroke.

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is a sudden bleed in the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is usually the result of high blood pressure combined with arteriosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels due to the build up of fatty contents and cholesterol plaques on the vessel wall), resulting in too much pressure on the blood vessel walls.

A cerebral hemorrhage occurs when a faulty blood vessel in the brain bursts, flooding the nearby areas of the brain. The most common sites are the basal ganglia (an area in the brain responsible for controlling voluntary movements and establishing postures), the cerebellum (an area in the brain that provides coordination of finely executed complex movements, including speech) the thalamus (an area in the brain that is the center of pain, touch, and temperature) and the pons (an area in the brain that acts as a relay station for messages in the brain and is important centers for regulating breathing).

A subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing sudden bleeding into the space between the middle lining of the brain (the arachnoid membrane) and the brain itself. A subarachnoid hemorrhage causes sudden, severe pain in the head.

More information on the stroke

What is a stroke? - Stroke (cerebrovascular accident) is a sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture or occlusion of a blood vessel leads to oxygen lack in the brain.
What're the different types of strokes? - There are two main types of stroke. Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding.
What is ischemic stroke? - Ischemic stroke is the most common type. Ischemic stroke can further be divided into two main types: thrombotic and embolic.
What is a thrombotic stroke? - Thrombotic strokes are strokes caused by a thrombus (blood clot) that develops in the arteries supplying blood to the brain.
What is an embolic stroke? - Embolic strokes often result from heart disease or heart surgery and occur rapidly and without any warning signs.
What's transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini stroke? - A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is often called a mini stroke. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a transient stroke that lasts only a few minutes.
What is hemorrhagic stroke? - In hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding in the brain itself or between the brain and the skull (subarachnoid hemorrhage) disrupts brain function.
What is an intracerebral hemorrhage? - Intracerebral hemorrhage is usually caused by hypertension (high blood pressure), and bleeding occurs suddenly and rapidly.
What is a subarachnoid hemorrhage? - Subarachnoid hemorrhage results when bleeding occurs between the brain and the meninges in the subarachnoid space.
What causes a stroke? - Stroke caused by damage to blood vessels in the brain. The ischemic stroke is usually caused by atherosclerosis (hardening) of blood vessels.
What are the symptoms of a stroke? - The symptoms of a stroke depend on what part of the brain and how much of the brain tissue is affected. Stroke symptoms usually come on suddenly.
What are the risk factors for a stroke? - Risk factors for a stroke include high blood pressure (hypertension), atherosclerosis, cigarette smoking, atrial fibrillation, diabetes.
How is a stroke diagnosed? - Stroke is diagnosed through several techniques: a short neurological examination, blood tests, CT scans or MRI scans, Doppler ultrasound, and arteriography.
What's the treatment for a stroke? - The aim of the therapy is to minimise the size of the stroke and therefore minimise subsequent disability by restoring blood flow to the area of the brain affected quickly.
What medications can be used for stroke treatment? - Intravenous thrombolytics. clot-busting, or thrombolytic drugs are now administered intravenously for ischemic (not hemorrhagic) stroke.
What can be done to prevent a stroke? - Prevention of stoke is an important public health concern. Medication or drug therapy is the most common method of stroke prevention.
What're the surgical treatments for stroke? - Surgical treatments for stroke include carotid endarterectomy, angioplasty, clipping. Clipping involves clamping off the aneurysm.
How to recover from a stroke? - Spontaneous recovery accounts for most improvements in the first month after a stroke. Successful recovery after a stroke depends on the extent of brain damage.
What is stroke rehabilitation? - Stroke rehabilitation is the process by which patients with disabling strokes undergo treatment to help them return to normal life.
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