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.