Strokes are always medical emergencies, but not all strokes are the same. There are actually three different kinds of stroke, with different causes and different treatments. When you seek emergency care for a stroke, one of the first things the medical team will do is determine what kind of stroke you are having. Here’s an overview of the three different kinds of stroke.
Ischemic strokes are by far the most common type. They occur when a clot obstructs blood flow in a vessel that carries blood to the brain. The type of damage that occurs with an ischemic stroke depends on which area of the brain is being deprived of oxygen-rich blood. Treatment for ischemic stroke focuses on removing the blockage and restoring the flow of blood.
With a hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. As a result, blood builds up around the brain, putting pressure on brain tissue. Hemorrhagic strokes can occur because of an aneurysm, which is a weakened blood vessel that balloons until it bursts, or an arteriovenous malformation, a group of abnormal blood vessels. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for hemorrhagic stroke.
Transient Ischemic Attack
Transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs, are sometimes referred to as mini-strokes. They mimic ischemic strokes in that they are caused by the blockage of a blood vessel. However, the blockage is only temporary and clears up on its own. Most TIAs are over in about a minute, while a few last more than five minutes. Even though TIAs may end without treatment and may not cause brain damage, they are very serious, as they often indicate that a larger stroke is coming.
If you or someone you love is experiencing the symptoms of a stroke, come to the emergency room at Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg right away. We are a designated Primary Stroke Center and, through our Neuroscience Institute, can provide lifesaving care from diagnosis through recovery. For answers to your questions about our stroke care, call (888) 598-9586.