Understanding the Types of StrokeA stroke is caused by damage to the brain due to an interruption in its blood supply. In actuality, there are three primary types of stroke, known as a transient ischemic attack, ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. The following will take a closer look at each of these stroke types and how they differ from one another.

Transient Ischemic Attack

A transient ischemic attack is commonly referred to as a mini-stroke. The one positive aspect of this type of stroke is that it only lasts for a few minutes and does not cause any permanent damage. However, it’s important to note that this type of stroke is commonly a precursor to a larger stroke within a year or two from the initial attack. This attack is caused by a clot blocking the blood supply from reaching your brain, much in the same way as a standard ischemic stroke.

This often occurs due a buildup of cholesterol deposits within an artery that leads to the brain. The only difference between a transient ischemic attack and an Ischemic stroke is that the interruption of the blood flow is much shorter in duration. The primary symptoms for this “mini-stroke” include numbness or weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, blindness or dizziness. Though this is considered to be a minor stroke, it’s important that you seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that an attack has occurred.

Ischemic Stroke

An ischemic stroke is the most common type and occurs in 87 percent of those that suffer from a stroke. There are generally two types of ischemic strokes that a person can suffer from, known as an embolic stroke and a thrombotic stroke. An embolic stroke will happen when a blood clot forms within an area of the body and eventually makes its way to the brain.

A thrombotic stroke is created much in the same way as a transient ischemic attack, by a blood clot forming within an artery and ceasing the flow of blood to the brain. Symptoms for this type of stroke include numbness in the face, a loss of balance, dizziness or confusion, as well as a general loss of vision. If this type of stroke occurs, medical attention should be sought as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage can be done to your brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

The last type of stroke is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. These are much less common than ischemic strokes and only occur in instances where a substantially weakened blood vessel bursts and ends up bleeding into the brain. As the blood increases in the brain, some of the surrounding tissue will be compressed. There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes, known as an aneurysm and an arteriovenous malformation. The former is a ballooning and subsequent rupture of a group of blood vessels, while the latter is a cluster of blood vessels that have formed abnormally and can burst at any time.