There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Both kinds of
stroke prevent blood getting to the affected area of the brain, which
damages or destroys brain tissue. It is important to know which type of
stroke a patient is having to determine the appropriate treatment.
Types of Strokes
An ischemic stroke is caused by a major blockage, or clot, in one of the
key blood vessels supplying the brain. The blockage can come from a blood
vessel within the brain itself, or from pieces of plaque breaking off
from hardening of the arteries or plaques in the heart, or the carotid
artery. Ischemic strokes are far more common than hemorrhagic strokes.
In our Torrance community, 80 percent of all strokes are caused by blockages.
The second type of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a blood vessel
bursting or leaking and bleeding into the brain. If a patient has a hemorrhagic
stroke, immediate neurosurgical intervention, or aggressive medical management
may be needed. Each case is highly individual.
Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA or "mini strokes")
Transient ischemic attacks occur when a blood clot temporarily clogs an
artery or blood vessel in the brain. Symptoms may be the same as an ischemic
stroke, including weakness, numbness, double vision, and altered speech.
The difference is that with a TIA, the symptoms usually last less than
24 hours, and typically disappear within an hour or two. Even though the
symptoms are no longer present, we recommend that patients with TIA come
to the hospital immediately for treatment. TIAs can be an important predictor
of a stroke.